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If you’ve ever ogled the fresh salsa selection at your favorite natural foods store, and then, upon scrutinizing the price tags, glumly walked out with naked tortilla chips, I have good news for you.

When I arrived for work at the J.R. Organics stand last weekend, my friends from the Rodriguez family gestured toward a huge pan of chunky salsa verde in the back of their truck. My first bite must have contained about half a jalapeño, but it was the kind of electrifying zing that keeps you hovering in spite of the pain. And the best part: Nearly all the ingredients were available at the J.R. booth. (The rest I found at the same farmers’ market a few yards away, with the exception of salt, which we would all probably do well to omit anyway.) I glutted myself on that salsa for the rest of the afternoon, and then went home and made a bulk batch of my own. I recommend that you do the same.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 lb tomatillos, peeled
  • 1/2 lb jalapeño peppers
  • 2-4 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt to taste

Directions:

Roast the whole tomatillos, peppers, and (unpeeled) garlic. A barbecue would be ideal, but you can also use a frying pan, or stick your roastables in the oven on aluminum foil (to save yourself the work of scrubbing a pan). If you use a hot enough flame, this should take no more than 5 or 10 minutes. Some blackness is good, as that will add a smoky flavor. Combine roasted items with cilantro and lime juice. If you want smooth salsa, put everything in a blender or food processor. If you want it chunky, simply chop everything and mix it using a mortar and pestle (or another sturdy bowl-utensil combo). Taste the salsa as you go, and add salt as needed.

Note: If you like garlic as much as I do, consider chopping it up raw. The health benefits of raw garlic are numerous.

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