For more than 25 years we’ve been eating very well at Nashville’s Mexican restaurants, starting with the pioneering La Hacienda Taqueria on Nolensville Pike. These days, trendy taco places are popping up all over town. Always on the table in most joints are two styles of squeeze-bottle salsa: the green tomatillo and the spicier red, flecked with dried chilies. Then, at some Nolensville Pike spots, a third salsa appeared — bright green, creamy, spicy and absolutely addictive. We deconstruct a lot of recipes, but this one had us stumped.
The brilliantly simple mystery was solved by a very nice server at El Tapatio on Nolensville Pike. As she rattled off the four miracle ingredients, it was obvious we were not the first to ask. We went directly home and opened a can of tomatillos, peeled an avocado and a garlic clove, rough-chopped a few hot peppers and put it all in the blender. Unbelievable. You’ll be serving it with everything this summer — drizzled over burgers, grilled meat and fish, summer vegetables or a platter of sliced Tennessee tomatoes.
The miracle is how the rich creaminess of the avocado convinces you that you’re eating sour cream. No sour cream in this salsa; no dairy whatsoever. The other miracle is how the acidic tomatillos keep the avocado from turning dark brown. Even full of avocado, this beautiful salsa stays a gorgeous fresh green. On the peppers, we lean toward spicy because there’s something really unexpected about combining cool and creamy with heat. A batch or two will help you adjust the heat to your liking. For a heftier dipping sauce, add a second avocado.
There’s always the temptation to clutter a recipe with more. (“A handful of fresh cilantro whizzed into the mix would be really nice, maybe a sprinkle of ground cumin?”) But, resist. Its four-ingredient purity is part of the miracle. We served the salsa with chili and nachos to a Brazilian friend who declared she would like to eat the whole bowl of salsa like a soup. That’s actually not a bad idea …
This story appears at Nfocus.com and we include it here for our rbandmindy.com readers.