The red salsa served at Fonda del Mar (3749 W. Fullerton Ave.; 773-489-3748) is fantastically smoky and its brick-red color comes from dried chilies, not tomatoes. "Chilies give off a lot of color," says Luis Moreno, who owns this year-old casual Mexican seafood restaurant in Logan Square with chef Raul Arreola and Angel Hernandez. The recipe, borrowed from Arreola's mother, uses cascabel, morita, and guajillo peppers, toasted briefly on a very hot pan. The delicious green salsa gets its smoky, tangy flavor from lightly charred tomatillos. Moreno says the salsa roja goes well with crispy tacos, taquitos, sopes (masa boats with filling), and chips; the salsa verde with seviche and dishes with fresh cheese. As for spiciness, he says, "on a scale of 1 to 10, the green one is a 1 or 2 and the red one is a 5." Each recipe makes roughly four pints of salsa. Throw a party. 
–Jennifer Tanaka

Salsa Verde
2-1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked and washed
4 serrano peppers
1 bunch cilantro, washed and dried
3 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon of corn oil
Salt to taste
Water as needed

(1) Under the broiler, roast the tomatillos and peppers, whole, until the skins are lightly charred and the insides begin to soften.
(2) On a very hot pan, caramelize the garlic cloves in oil, taking care not to burn them.
(3) In a blender, purée the tomatillos, peppers, and garlic, and cilantro, adding just enough water, if needed, to get the mixture moving. Blending should be minimal to get a chunky texture.
(4) Add salt to taste.

Salsa Roja
2 ounces cascabel peppers
2 ounces morita peppers
2 ounces guajillo peppers
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon of corn oil
1/2 an onion, cut in half
2-1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked and washed
Salt to taste

(1) Remove the seeds from the chilies. Make a slice down the length of each and unfold the pepper.
(2) On a very hot skillet, toast the chilies for 5 to 10 seconds on each side, pressing down with a spatula until the pepper darkens a bit and the fragrance is released.
(3) Soak the peppers in water to cover for about 20 minutes to soften; then remove and save the water.
(4) Toss the garlic in oil and, under the broiler, roast them along with the onion wedges and tomatillos.
(5) Blend all the ingredients, adding water (use the chili soaking water) as necessary.
(6) Add salt to taste.

Photograph: Tyllie Barbosa