Avocado, tomatillos fundamental for this sauce

Produce showing up on my doorstep is nothing new in a decade of living next door to my mother-in-law and her expansive vegetable garden.

But every now and then, an item confounds me a bit. A half-dozen tomatillos, purchased from the store, not home-grown, were her latest bequest. She bought too many for a recipe. Did I want the rest?

Last summer did see me experimenting with smoking tomatillos to yield a salsa that was almost jam-like in its consistency. Tomatillos have loads of natural pectin. Granted, I could just throw them in a stock pot with some vinegar, salt and sugar for easy chutney, but neither of those ideas really piqued my interest.

Then I spied this recipe for avocado sauce that also relies on tomatillos. It’s worth noting that I’ve tried to make salad dressing from overripe avocado, based on a local restaurateur’s suggestion, with marginal success. The dressing actually was more like mayonnaise in its consistency and not nearly as flavorful as I had hoped. I’ve since been looking to fine-tune that concept.

With more than 80 years of history to recommend it, this sauce was devised by a storied Los Angeles restaurant as a condiment for taquitos. It would a cinch to produce with ingredients I have on hand and outside in the garden.

Tribune News Service photo

Cielito Lindo’s Avocado Sauce

3 to 4 fresh yellow chilies (chili güero)

2 garlic cloves, peeled

6 tomatillos, husks removed and coarsely chopped

Leaves from 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 avocado, coarsely chopped

3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 1 quart water with the chilies, garlic, tomatillos and cilantro. Bring mixture to a simmer, loosely cover and cook until chilies and tomatillos are softened, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Drain, reserving water, and transfer ingredients to a blender jar. Add the avocado and salt. Carefully blend at low speed, adding water as needed, until mixture is pureed to form a thin sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to a week.

Makes about 1 quart sauce.

Recipe adapted by the Los Angeles Times from a recipe by Cielito Lindo in downtown Los Angeles.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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