Mary Jane Gagnier's Salsa de Miltomate y Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca
Makes approximately 2 cups of salsa
Make the effort to find the Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca. You will know it is the right chile by its rich smoky aroma. This salsa just gets better day after day, sweeter and more mellow; will keep up to a week, if you can keep it in the refrigerator that long! Mix the leftover chile garlic paste with fresh squeezed tangerine juice (orange juice will do as well) and a splash of tequila (use good Oaxacan mezcal, if you have it), now you have a delicious marinade for grilled shrimp, chicken or pork.
1 pound miltomates* or tomatillos
2 to 5 chiles pasillas de Oaxaca (or 8 chile de arbol) depending on size and desired heat level
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove the papery husk from the miltomate or tomatillos and rinse. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast turning occasionally until lightly browned and very soft, approximately 10-15 minutes. You can also roast them on a comal or very large (12-inch) saute pan over medium flame turning occasionally to evenly cook.
Heat a very large (12-inch) saute pan over medium heat and toast the whole chiles quickly, lightly flattening them with a spatula. This is a quick process. Once they puff up and change color, remove from the heat immediately.
Soak the chiles in hot water until soft, approximately 5 minutes. After chiles have softened, devein and deseed them by scrapping a spoon in the inside.
In a blender, puree the chiles and garlic with a little water. Pour off and reserve half of the chile puree. Add the miltomates or tomatillos and blend to a smooth consistency. Adjust level of chile heat by adding more of the reserve paste as needed. Salt to taste. Thin with water as needed.
* Miltomates are a very small tomatillo with a purplish blush that you can find in Mexican groceries and some farmer's markets.