A couple of weeks ago, Ben and I took a quick weekend trip up to Chicago sans kids to celebrate my birthday.  We drove up on Friday evening after work in less than ideal weather conditions to make our late dinner reservations at Topolobampo.  Rick Bayless is the man – I adore his cookbooks almost as much as I adore his restaurants.  Though on this trip we did break our rule of never missing a chance to eat at XOCO, our meal at Topolobampo more than made up for it.  A food-centric weekend including a couple of restaurants I had been dying to try was indeed the perfect birthday gift for me.

A few days later and back to reality, I was talking with Ben’s mom on the phone and filling her in on all the details of our meal at Topo.  The next thing I knew, Ben’s parents were coming over for dinner a few days later with an offer of a Rick Bayless-inspired menu.  We started out the evening with chips, guacamole, mango salsa, and this fresh tomatillo salsa.  The gorgeous vibrant colors and freshness of this spread were just what we all needed.  And while we’re at it, why not go all the way with blood orange margaritas – am I right?  Please don’t tell guacamole, but I think this salsa really was my favorite of the appetizer choices.  I have made it a few times before and each time, I marvel at how something so fabulous takes just minutes to make.  This is one of those recipes you really need to have in your repertoire for quick but easy entertaining, or for snack attacks that demand something better than PB&J.

  • Yield about 1½ cups


  • 8 oz. tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ tsp. coarse salt


  • 01

    Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender.  Pulse to a coarse puree, being careful not to over process.  Transfer to a serving bowl.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  Serve with chips, etc. as desired.