Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Tomatillos are a member of the nightshade family. they are usually a green color but can be purple or even more yellow. they are wrapped in a husk that needs to be removed and discarded. tomatillos are the basis for many mexican and latin sauces but most importantly- salsa verde. they grow very well under all sorts of conditions so dont be surprised if they end up at your local farmers market in the coming weeks. when shopping for them, open the husk as it can be deceiving in size and quality of the fruit. the husk will discolor far before the fruit will, and it sometimes seems to hide a tomatillo that should be twice the size that it is. when you get them home peel them and wash them really well. the husk can hide very sticky residue that needs to be removed. blemishes and bits of dirt need to be rubbed under cold water, and they will come off fairly easily. they also keep very well (2-3 weeks in the fridge) and whilst i have never tried to freeze them i have heard it can be done with success.

i like to make salsa verde. it is a perfect pairing for any sort of pork. great on a grilled chop, or a braised shoulder. perfect over a taco as well. due to my audience at home i usually keep the spice to a minimum but if you want you can load in the jalapenos. i will wash the produce well and then start it in pot with plenty of water. some people will roast them, but i am not a fan of the more aggressive flavor that roasting imparts on them. fool around with it. i will also chop up a few onions, a jalapeno if desired, and a few cloves of garlic then add them to the water. turn the heat on medium and let them come up slowly (remember we try not to boil anything but pasta) after a while the tomatillos will turn a duller shade of green, and begin to swell. drain the liquid but reserve it, then puree the mixture in a blender. i will add a bunch of cilantro, the juice from a lime, and some salt. as far as spices it is really up to you, i like mine pretty heavy on cumin (one of my favorite spices) and maybe even some coriander or mexican oregano. i usually store it in a canning jar in the fridge where it will last for at least a month. by saving the liquid it can be added back to mix if you unhappy with the consistency. if you are happy with it discard it.

this time of year tomatillos are local, available at almost any grocery store, and relatively inexpensive (less than $2/# for sure). the will add a cool "value" to friends or family having dinner, and it can be made well in advance. find the mixture of onions, spice, and spices that works best for you and yours.

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