Have you heard of pipian sauce? It is one of the many sauces that Brian and I use to have a flavorful dinner without spending a lot of time and money in the process. Traditionally, pipian sauce is made of tomatillos, onions, cilantro, sugar (ugh, why?), sesame or pumpkin seeds, and toasted bread. You can find it in Mexico and Central American countries. I do love a lot of flavor in my foods, and I do not love a lot of time spent for that flavor. I imagine that done correctly, this sauce is a lot of work. Luckily, I found a recipe for it in Rick Bayless' wonderful cookbook, Mexican Everyday, which was pretty straightforward. Then, we did what we do often, we made it even easier and removed unnecessary ingredients, like sugar. Rick Bayless recommends serving with with salmon and so do we. It's great with grilled salmon. The fat and the sweetness of the fish are cut with the spice and acidity of the sauce. I also enjoy pipian sauce on eggs, grilled chicken, and I imagine it would be good with grilled pork. Hey, vegetarian and vegan friends, it makes a nice dipping sauce for roasted cauliflower or green beans. When thinking about pairing it, the sauce is spicy so it's ideal with something sweet.
How did we make this recipe our own? Rick calls for blending the primary ingredient, a tomatillo salsa, in a food processor. We are not doing that. Why? Because I am the dishwasher and heck no I will not be washing any unnecessary dishes thank you kindly. This is just to make the sauce smooth. I'm fine with it chunky. We eliminated the sugar because geez louise why do you need sugar in it? You don't. He adds ingredients one at a time to the saucepan, such as first reducing the salsa before adding the broth and tahini. How much time do you have? That's what I thought: you don't have time to be adding ingredients one at a time. Your time is valuable! Thus, we just pour all three ingredients in the saucepan at once, and let it reduce, thereby freeing us up to make salads, roast veggies, and grill fish or chicken.
Quick & Easy Green Pipian Sauce
Makes enough sauce for 4-6 meals
2 cups jarred tomatillo salsa (use your favorite since it's the dominant flavor of the sauce)
1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons tahini that has been well stirred
Swirl of olive oil
In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, lightly swirl olive oil around the pan one time. Lift the pan and tilt it to ensure even distribution of the olive oil. Add the salsa, broth, and tahini. Whisk together. It may look like the tahini has separated a bit. This is normal and it will come together as it reduces. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Stir or whisk occasionally to prevent the sauce from scorching on the bottom of the pan. Cook the sauce until it has reduced by half to two-thirds, depending on your preferred thickness. Serve warm with grilled or roasted chicken, fish, and/or vegetables.
Nutritional awesomeness: Tomatillo salsa is an excellent source of vitamin C. Tahini contains iron and calcium.