I won!

It’s summer, so it’s time for the annual Spiceworks Salsa Contest. This year, the contest is held in conjunction with our party to celebrate Sys Admin Day, which is a big deal in and of itself. Last year, I won the “Most Culinary Creativity” prize with my “Strawberry Pico de Gallo”. This year, in a bid to win everything 🙂 (“Crowd’s Favorite”, “Most Culinary Creativity” and “Best Dressed” prizes), I aimed for something a bit more recognizable but still having enough creativity, and presented to the best of my ability: “Roasted Poblano Tomatillos Salsa With White Truffle Oil”! I got one out of three: my salsa won the “Crowd’s Favorite” prize!!!

It’s basically a roasted salsa (all veggie ingredients are broiled under the broiler in my electric oven) with the addition of white truffle oil (Grapevine brand) and seasoned with Chihuahua de Mexico smoked salt. I think the earthy truffle oil and the smoky salt really spice up this classic roasted tomatillo poblano salsa.

Look, Ma, real truffle!

Several days before the contest, I made different versions of the salsa, starting with just the vegetable ingredients, then successively adding olive oil, lime juice, and truffle oil, fine tuning as I go. I leave the salsa in the fridge overnight and taste and fine tune the salsa further the morning after, as would be the case on contest day.


I didn’t decide on adding Chihuahua de Mexico smoked salt until making the final iteration of the salsa. I’m happy the salt’s smokiness did something good for the salsa.

For presentation, I crafted a basket lined with Spanish moss, representatives of the ingredients, and a “bouquet” made from the husk of the tomatillos.

Making the




Roasted Poblano Tomatillos Salsa With White Truffle Oil

  • 6 roma tomatoes
  • 6 tomatillos
  • 2 fresh poblano peppers
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 8 whole garlic cloves, skin on
  • 1/2 C very finely minced cilantro, leaves only (include stems and chop less finely for “chunkier” salsa)
  • 2 Tsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp Chihuahua de Mexico smoked salt, finely ground with a mortar and pestle
  • 2 tsps truffle oil
  • dash of coarsely ground black pepper

Roast tomatoes, tomatillos, poblano, red onion, and garlic cloves 3-4″ inches from broiler’s flame/element for 7 minutes then turn and roast for another 5 minutes, until blackened all over.

Squeeze garlic out of their skin. Mash to a paste with back of spoon.

Roasted garlic

Optional: remove charred skin from tomatoes and poblano. Leave more skin in for more smokiness, at the expense of having some rough bits in the salsa.

Separately, coarsely purée tomatoes, tomatillos, poblanos, and onion in blender. Remove to separate bowls.


Start with equal volumes of tomatoes, tomatillos, and poblanos.

Add onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, salts, truffle oil and pepper. Taste and adjust.