How to Make the Salsa Verde from America\’s Best Taco Joint
La Taqueria needs no introduction to San Franciscans—the Mexican restaurant has been slinging some of the city\’s best tacos and burritos for over 40 years, and it recently picked up a James Beard Award honoring it as an American Classic. Locals know its secret—or rather, one of its secrets—is in its green sauce.
Squeeze bottles of La Taqueria\’s salsa verde are placed on tables throughout the restaurant for patrons to spice up their fare. Made with just four ingredients, the simple salsa provides the right balance of acid from the tomatillos and heat from the serranos to cut the richness of the crispy, meaty food. The recipe was passed down from owner Miguel Jara\’s late mother, who helped him open the restaurant back in 1973, and remained a secret tightly held within the Jara family—until now.
Here, the Jara family recipe for spicy salsa verde.
- 1 lb. tomatillos
- 1/2 lb. serrano chiles
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- Peel husks from tomatillos and wash thoroughly, rinsing away sticky residue. Place in tomatillos in a medium-sized pot and add one cup of water.
- Pluck off serrano stems, rinse well, then place in the same pot as tomatillos.
- Bring water to a boil, lower heat, cover, and simmer until both the tomatillos and serranos are easily pierced with a fork (about 30 minutes). The tomatillo skins should just begin to burst.
- Use tongs to remove tomatillos and serranos and place into a blender (a Vitamix works best). Add garlic and salt, and blend until mixed thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.