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A sauce for all seasons
Milk Street Bowtie Cilantro-Jalapeño Adobo Sauce

Cilantro-Jalapeño Adobo Sauce

Appears in March-April 2017

20 minutes

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Cilantro-Jalapeño Adobo Sauce

Free

Spanish for marinade, adobo can be many things, but it began as a blend of olive oil, vinegar and spices that was slathered over meat and other foods to keep them from spoiling. We wanted a sauce that could go with just about anything and were inspired by a Mexican-style adobo from Rick Bayless, who blends together garlic, serrano chilies, cilantro, parsley and oil. We wanted to cut back on the oil and heat, so we chose jalapeño peppers over serrano chilies; the latter can vary widely in heat level from dud to scud. We dropped the parsley and went all in on cilantro; its fresh, clean flavor was even bolder when it didn't need to compete with another herb. Our sauce packs moderate heat; if you prefer a milder version, replace two of the jalapeños with one large Anaheim or poblano chili. Since it's blended with oil and the garlic is thoroughly cooked, the herb sauce can be refrigerated for up to three weeks.

1

cup

Tip

Don’t forget to wash your herbs. Cilantro can be quite sandy. A salad spinner is the easiest way to wash and dry it.

20 minutes

4 large jalapeño chilies
6 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
5 cups (about 4 ounces) lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice, plus more as needed
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon sugar
Ingredients
  • 4

    large jalapeño chilies

  • 6

    large garlic cloves, unpeeled

  • 5

    cups (about 4 ounces) lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • 6
  • 1

    tablespoon lime juice, plus more as needed

  • ¾

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½

    teaspoon sugar

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Cilantro-Jalapeño Adobo Sauce

Get Ready to Cook

1

cup

20 minutes

Tip

Don’t forget to wash your herbs. Cilantro can be quite sandy. A salad spinner is the easiest way to wash and dry it.

Ingredients
  • 4

    large jalapeño chilies

  • 6

    large garlic cloves, unpeeled

  • 5

    cups (about 4 ounces) lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • 6
  • 1

    tablespoon lime juice, plus more as needed

  • ¾

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½

    teaspoon sugar

Step 1 of 2

Prepare the jalapeños and garlic

4
large jalapeño chilies
6
large garlic cloves, unpeeled

Heat the broiler with an oven rack 6 inches from the element. Arrange the jalapeños and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet and broil, turning as necessary, until the chilies are evenly blistered and the garlic skins are spotted brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

Step 2 of 2

Peel, process and serve

5
cups (about 4 ounces) lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
6
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1
tablespoon lime juice, plus more as needed
¼
teaspoon kosher salt
½
teaspoon sugar

Cover with foil and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Peel, stem and seed the chilies and peel the garlic, trimming away any scorched bits.


In a food processor, combine the chilies, garlic and all remaining ingredients. Process until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Taste and adjust salt and lime juice as desired.

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