Raw Salsa Verde

Alex Stupak

Empellón Cocina, Empellón Taqueria, and Empellón Al Pastor, NYC

Raw ingredients speak (shout, actually) for themselves in this purist salsa verde, which is one of the key components of Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman's tacos al pastor. It’s all about the green apple acidity of ripe tomatillo, the heat of untreated chiles, and the garlicky sting right up front.

Recipe reprinted from Tacos: Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman. Copyright ©2015 by Empellon Holdings LLC. Photos by Evan Sung. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC


  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1⁄2 medium white onion, minced 
  • 3 to 4 medium tomatillos (about 5 ounces total), husked, rinsed, patted dry, and diced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 40 cilantro leaves (from about 10 sprigs), roughly chopped


Place the garlic in a molcajete with the salt and crush it into a paste using a tejolote. Add the chiles and minced onion to the paste and crush them into a coarse texture. Add the tomatillos and continue crushing the mixture with the tejolote until it is pulpy. Season with the honey and stir the mixture with a spoon. Add the chopped cilantro and stir to combine. Transfer the salsa to a container and refrigerate it until ready to use. The finished salsa is best eaten the day it is made; if you want to work ahead, don’t add the cilantro to the salsa until the day you plan to serve it.


about 1 cup