The Day of the Dead or Día de Los Muertos is celebrated in many countries throughout the world but where I live, we tend to think of it as a Mexican holiday. Indeed, it is. Celebrated on November 1st, in Mexico it is treated as a national holiday and as the name implies, it is a day for families to honor those loved ones who have passed before them.
One of the things I enjoy most about Día de Los Muertos is the colorful Mexican folk art that accompanies it. These portraits or shadow boxes and figurines are often brightly decorated skeletons. Some of these skeletons are referred to as Catrina, the skeleton of a high society woman in festive apparel and flowers.
The traditions associated with this holiday focus on the preparation of the foods and beverages that were the favorites of those who have died. Some of these are carried to the grave sites and some are set up as altars to facilitate prayers for the dead. Sugar skulls decorated with icing and marigold flowers are common elements of the altars.
Our CSA delivery lines up nicely against this festival. Green orbs covered with papery husks called tomatillos and a variety of peppers are in season. The easiest thing to do is to whip up a spicy Mexican salsa not only because it may have been someone’s favorite but also because it is so versatile; with chips as a dip, over eggs for a ranchero dish, as a sauce on fish or potatoes. The great thing is that the versatility hides a multitude of sins and you are free to “wing it” unless you are truly honoring the recipe of a loved one.
This recipe, passed to me by the living is easy and readily adaptable to tastes.
- 20 tomatillos, husks removed
- 4 – 5 serrano chiles
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- cilantro to taste
Put the tomatillos and the chiles in a cast iron skillet and toast the skin. Add garlic cloves to heat for a second. Place these items into your blender with as much cilantro as you like and salt. Spin it and enjoy!