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Salsa Verde con Aguacate (Green Sauce with Avocado)

The original recipe calls for mashing the ingredients by hand with a mortar and pestle and mixing in the chopped avocado and the cilantro at the end so that they keep their separate character in a coarse-textured sauce. Do it this way or follow an unorthodox approach that Zarela Martinez has grown fond of, pureeing everything together until very smooth in a food processor or blender.

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  • Servings: MAKES ABOUT 2 1/2 CUPS

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  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 to 3 fresh serrano or jalapeño chilies, coarsely chopped
  • 6 to 8 average-size tomatillos (about 1/ 2 pound), husked and quartered
  • 1 ripe Mexican-type avocado (Hass or Fuerte), halved, pitted and peeled
  • 8 to 10 cilantro sprigs


  1. In a food processor, blender or heavy mortar, process or pound the garlic and salt to a paste. Add the onion, chilies and tomatillos; either pulse in the processor to a slightly chunky purée or pound and mash the ingredients together as fine as possible. For a smooth machine-finished purée, add the avocado and the cilantro and process. If using the hand method, chop the avocado fine and mash it into the onion-tomatillo mixture; chop the cilantro leaves and stir in. Or for a compromise version, pour the machine-processed onion-tomatillo mixture into a bowl and mix in the hand-chopped avocado along with the cilantro. Serve as soon as possible, certainly within 1 hour.
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