Try this salsa not just with striped bass, but in fish tacos, with shrimp or sea scallops, or just as a dip. This recipe originally appeared in Steven Raichlen's novel An Island Apart.

  • 5 fresh tomatillos, husks removed
  • 3 plum tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, skin on
  • 1 poblano chili
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and skewered on a small bamboo skewer
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers with 2 tablespoons can juices, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. For ember-charred salsa, light natural lump charcoal in a chimney starter. When the coals are lit and glowing orange (this will take 15 to 20 minutes), pour them over the bottom of the grill and rake out into an even layer. Arrange the tomatillos, tomatoes, onion, and poblano directly on the coals until charred black on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side, 6 to 10 minutes in all (the onion will take the longest). Wrap garlic loosely in foil and roast it for the same time on the embers (the foil keeps it from burning). Transfer charred vegetables to a heatproof pan and let cool. Scrape off the black charred skin (it’s okay to leave a little for color and character). Cut the veggies in half. Scrape the seeds out of the poblano.

2. Alternatively, for grilled salsa, set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Brush and oil the grill grate. Grill tomatillos, tomatoes, quartered onions, and garlic until browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side, 6 to 10 minutes in all. (Grill the garlic off to one side where the fire is a little cooler.) Let cool to room temperature, then cut veggies in half and seed the poblano.

3. Purée the charred or grilled vegetables, chipotle peppers and juices, and cilantro in a food processor. Add lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste; the salsa should be highly seasoned. If too thick, add a little water. The salsa can be prepared several hours ahead.