Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Roasted Corn And Tomatillo Salsa

Roasted Corn and Tomatillo Salsa
Susan Russo for NPR /

Roasting vegetables enhances their flavors by drawing out their natural sugars and aromas. In this Southwest-inspired salsa, sweet corn is balanced by slightly tart, citrusy tomatillos and pungent onions. Serve this salsa with extra-thick corn chips for a crowd-pleasing appetizer, or serve it atop grilled fish, chicken, pork or steak for a satisfying main meal.

Yields 2 cups

1 ear of sweet corn, removed from husk and cut into 4 equal pieces

6 to 8 small tomatillos (about 2 cups, chopped)**

1 green or red jalapeno (or to taste; the more seeds, the hotter the dish)

1 small white onion (about 3/4 cup, chopped)

1 teaspoon olive oil

Salt, to taste

1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons roasted and salted pepitas***

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons lime juice

Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil. Add the corn cob quarters, chopped tomatillos, whole jalapeno and chopped onions in the center of the foil. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss until well coated. Turn edges of the foil up to create a ledge around the vegetables to collect the cooking juices.

Place the baking sheet as close to the broiler heat as possible. Broil until the vegetables are soft and charred all over, about 15 to 20 minutes, turning once midway through. Cool.

Cut the corn kernels off the cob and reserve half. Cut off the top of the jalapeno pepper and peel off the skin. Transfer the charred vegetables (with only half the corn) and any juices to a food processor or blender; add sugar, pepitas, cilantro and lime juice. Blend to a coarse puree. Place in a bowl, and stir in remaining corn kernels. Season with salt, to taste.

Transfer salsa to a serving bowl, and serve with tortilla chips.

**A tomatillo (toh-MAH-tee-YO) is a small green fruit encased in a paper-like husk. Used primarily in savory dishes, it is a common ingredient in Mexican and Southwestern cooking. Tomatillos can be found in Mexican markets as well as in the produce section of most major supermarkets. Prior to eating, remove the husk and rinse well to remove any stickiness.

***Pepitas are Mexican pumpkin seeds. They can be found in Mexican markets or in the bulk section of most specialty markets. Roasted sunflower seeds make a good substitute.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit