I can tell you the moment I fell in love with salsa verde, the southwestern sauce dominated by roasted tomatillos and green chiles. It was earlier this summer at a Zolo Southwestern Grill farm dinner in Lafayette. The setting was the bucolic, 50-acre Isabelle Farm, lit by the sun and crowned by the Rockies in the distance. From a makeshift kitchen of banquet tables nudged together and a fire pit set with a grate, Zolo chef Brett Smith (and crew) turned out five exquisite, farm-fresh course

The meal began with a shallow ceramic bowl of smoky, tangy salsa verde meant for sharing. We served ourselves, and we got to know our dining companions while using pieces of grilled flatbread to scoop up the rustic sauce. This wasn’t the first time I’d had the concoction, but this evening the flavors were unusually rich and complex, bright and earthy. When it came time to clear the course, we begged our server to leave the remaining salsa behind. I’m happy to say we finished every last bit.

Salsa Verde

Sous Chef Erik Rollings, Zolo Southwestern Grill

(Makes about 6 cups)

  • 2 bunches cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bunches parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Anaheim chile, charred on grill and cooled
  • 2 jalapeños, charred on grill and cooled
  • 9 tomatillos, charred on grill and cooled
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ? cup lime juice
  • ½ tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Be sure the grilled items are cool so the color of the sauce stays bright green. Purée all ingredients in two or three batches in a blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with flatbread or chips.

This article was originally published in 5280 October 2010.
Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.