Sunday, September 20, 2009

Salsa Sunday: Not Tia Lily's chile verde, but a good one

My mom and all my tias made excellent chile verde. But my Tia Lily's was considered the best.

Asked if she would share her recipe, she said, "No! But I will tell you this: You have to work at it. Work those chiles."

I never quite figured out what she meant by that, but I make a fair chile verde, and I'm about to tell you how mine goes. And yes, it requires one to work the chiles.

First, a digression: Chile verde and salsa verde (last week's SALSA SUNDAY installation) are different in that salsa verde is just that, a sauce to be added or spooned onto a main course or dipped into with tortillas or tortilla chips. Chile verde is more of a garnish.

To make it, start with a half dozen anaheim chiles. These are relatively mild chiles. Others can be used, such as pasillas, but I prefer anaheims. Roast the chiles over an open flame on the stove or a grill or under a broiler flame, turning them so the skin blackens on all parts. Remove from flame and place them in a plastic bag and tie it shut, letting them steam for 20 minutes in the sink. Finely chop 1-2 cloves of garlic, 1-2 scallions including greens.

Chiles should be cool enough to handle. Peel off their skin and pull out seeds and spines. Cut off the stems and tips and cut the chiles into long thin strips. Add in the other chopped ingredients and stir together.

Chile verde can be served with steak (carne asada), included in machaca or with carne seca. It also can be used with eggs and anything else that needs a nice savory pick-me-up.

Chile verde will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days. If so, it should be allowed to come to room temperature before serving.

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