When a salsa is creamy, my immediate thought is that it contains milk or even avocado, but this salsa contains neither. The secret to its silky texture is the pumpkin seeds. When they are pureed, they create a velvety sauce that is fresh in flavor thanks to the jalapeños and cilantro.
It is extremely simple to make because you literally saute everything in one pan and then blend it all together, but there are so many layers of flavor–something I love about Mexican food.
Similar to most dairy products, the pumpkin seeds tend to cut the heat of the pepper and the sauce has a very balanced flavor.
salsa verde de pepitas
Salsa – Makes 3-4 cups
1 fresh jalapeño or 1 fresh serrano pepper
½ cup vegetable oil*
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp ground cumin
1 1/3 cups raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas*)
Generous handful of cilantro (about 1 cup chopped)
1 ½ cups water
½ tsp salt
→Chop the jalapeño or serrano into rings. You do not have to remove the veins or seeds.
→Pour oil into a large heavy skillet. Heat on medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Then, add chopped pepper, garlic, cumin, and pumpkin seeds. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly until seeds begin to pop. The seeds will also turn a golden brown color. Remove from heat.
→Carefully transfer seed mixture to a blender.
→Add cilantro (it does not need to be chopped since you are blending it), water, and salt.
→Blend on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
→Serve with chips or chopped vegetables. It also tastes great spooned over grilled chicken.
- I like to use grapeseed oil or avocado oil as my neutral vegetable oil. It is estimated that about 90% of the U.S. canola crop is genetically modified, so I stay away from canola oil. I like this grapeseed oil and this avocado oil.
- I like to buy my raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) from Trader Joe’s. You can buy them online at Amazon here. I like the Trader Joe’s pepitas because they come from Mexico and Guatemala rather than China.
Recipe Source: Adapted from Condé Nast’ s Gourmet Mexican Cookbook Magazine Special Edition