Roasted Tomatillo and Garlic Sauce

roasted tomatillo and garlic sauce with boar loin
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

It may not look like much, but this sauce packs a wallop. Roasted tomatillos, roasted garlic and roasted jalapenos, all pureed smooth, makes this an ideal sauce for simply fried meats and fish, wild or not. I first fried some wild boar cutlets to go with it, then sauteed some leopard shark fillets the next day — each was outstanding with this sauce.

Best of all, you can make most of it all at once, in the oven, so it’s easy to make.

Once made, this sauce will last a week in the fridge.

makes 1 to 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds tomatillos
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 2-5 jalapenos
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons sour cream (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice the tomatillos in half, coat with oil and place, cut side down, on a cookie sheet.
  3. Remove excess husk from the garlic heads, then slice off the tops of each clove. You can do most of it in one cut, but you’ll want to cut the tops off the cloves on the outer edge one-by-one.
  4. Drizzle a little olive oil on the cut ends of the garlic, sprinkle a little salt on them and wrap loosely in foil.
  5. Put both the garlic and the tomatillos in the oven and roast for 45 minutes to an hour.
  6. Meanwhile, roast the jalapenos. If you have a gas stove, simply grab the chile by the stem end with tongs and roast it right on the flame — you want the skin to turn black. If you have a grill, even better. If you have an electric stove, you might need to roast your jalapenos in the broiler before you roast your garlic and tomatillos.
  7. When the skins on the jalapenos are blackened, put them in a paper bag and close it tightly; you want the chiles to steam in the bag. Plastic bags aren’t as good, because they can melt from the heat of the jalapeno. Leave the chiles in the bag for 20 minutes or so.
  8. Turn the water on in your sink to a slow trickle, and get a bowl handy.
  9. Using your fingers, wipe off the jalapeno skins. They might still be hot, so you will want to cool your fingers in the sink. Resist the urge to remove the skins under running water — it robs them of much of their flavor.
  10. Discard the seeds and put the jalapenos in a blender.
  11. When the garlic and tomatillos are done — the garlic should be soft and brown and the tomatillos slightly collapsed on themselves — set them out to cool a bit.
  12. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions with a little salt until the onions begin to color. Pour them into the blender.
  13. Pour the tomatillos into the blender, and squeeze the garlic cloves in as well.
  14. Buzz into a puree. If you want, push this through a fine-meshed sieve to remove any lumps; you don’t have to, though.
  15. Taste for salt and add if needed. If the sauce is too hot for you, add a dollop of sour cream.
  16. Serve warm.

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