This simple salsa combines two of my favorite things: mezcal and chiles. It reminds me of the old cantinas or centro botaneros of Mexico, where the more booze you drink, the more (drinking snacks) magically show up to your table. While it is amazing simply with some fresh totopos and a michelada, this smoky salsa also hits the spot when spooned over juicy grilled meat or melted cheese on tortillas. Or, you can just take a shot of it on its own. As when using a cooking wine to make a nice sauce for other cuisines, the mezcal you use doesn’t have to be top-shelf but do make sure it is 100-percent agave.
Preheat your oven’s broiler to its highest setting.
Place the tomatillos on a baking sheet with a rim, on your broiler’s highest rack, and broil for 20 minutes, mixing them around at the 10-minute mark to make sure all of the tomatillos are cooking evenly. The tomatillos should be lightly charred and change color to a light yellow. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a comal or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, toast the dried chiles and garlic until slightly charred and fragrant. This should take about 30 seconds for the chiles and about 5 minutes for the garlic.
Bring about a cup (
In a blender, combine the reserved tomatillos, chiles, and garlic with the apple cider vinegar, mezcal, 2 tablespoons of water, and the bay leaves. Blend until smooth. Taste for salt and serve. This salsa will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a week.
© 2019 All rights reserved. Published by Abrams Books.