The Best Salsa Verde Recipe to Make in a Molcajete

Photography by Mónica Godefroy. 

This classic salsa verde recipe comes from the Juárez family, our partners in San Salvador El Seco, Puebla, who produce each one of our Molcajetes. When we visited their taller (workshop), it was Yolanda Juárez Gutiérrez, artisan Don Enrique's mother-in-law, who was the resident salsa queen and showed us how to make a mean salsa verde.

La Sra de las Salsas herself, Yolanda Juárez Gutiérrez


It's spicy and bright, and for a relatively simple recipe, it packs in a whole lot of flavor. 

Spoon it over fried eggs or grilled shrimp, use it in chilaquiles or enchiladas, or pour it atop your taco. 

Tomatillo-based salsa verde dates back to the Aztec empire: Spanish physician Francisco Hernández documented it in his reports from the first scientific expedition to the New World. 

Salsa verde recipes tend to differ in cooking method: some boil the tomatillos, some grill them on a comal, and others throw them in raw and cook the salsa once it’s blended.

Serrano peppers on the comal
Tomatillos boiling
Grinding salsa in a molcajete


While it can be made in a blender or food processor, the best salsa is made in a traditional molcajete, Mexico’s answer to the mortar and pestle (the pestle, or hand tool in this case, is called a tejolote). The grinding of ingredients against the molcajete's volcanic rock walls opens up a breadth of flavor impossible to achieve with the whir of metal blades. The chiles and garlic fuse into a paste that marries with the acidity of the tomatillos and binds everything together in perfect harmony. There's a reason people have been making salsa this way since the Pre-hispanic age: don't mess with greatness.

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