Post #392 Tasty Tomatillos

July 15, 2015 at 12:08 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Have you ever been wandering through the produce section of your local grocery store and seen green tomatoes wrapped in a brown papery husk and wondered what the heck they were?  Well, let your curiosity be answered.  Those are tomatillos, pronounced TOE-MAH-TEE-OHS.  And we’re going to discuss them at length today cuz they are so good!

Tomatillo 1

I never saw a tomatillo until my family moved to Arizona.  That’s because at that time, they weren’t a well known or popular vegetable except in Mexico and Spain and their surrounding areas.  I thought they were green tomatoes with a paper husk and couldn’t imagine what they were used for.  It didn’t take long to find out.

Tomatillos are part of the tomato family of plants, nightshade.  They look similar, except tomatillos are smaller, ranging in size from a globe grape to a golf ball.  The have a very fresh, citrusy flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked.  When they’re roasted, their flavor explodes!  The are high in fiber, and iron, but most other vitamins etc. are only in trace amounts.  And they’re very low in calories, only ten per medium sized fruit.  They are mostly eaten green, but they range in color as they ripen from green, to yellow, to red, and purple.  Like a tomato, the flavor can range from a crisp tanginess to a mellow sweetness.

tomatillo 1a

When using the tomatillo, it’s important to remove every part of the husk since it’s completely inedible.  Slice the vegetable very thin if using raw.  Add to guacamole for extra crunch.  Put on top of tacos for something different.  Throw them into salads for extra color and flavor, not to mention crunch.  They can also be stuffed and fried similar to jalapenos.  And they can be rolled in batter of your favorite kind and deep fried like hush puppies, chicken, or french fries.

But it’s sauce where tomatillos shine.   Chop them small and add them to your favorite salsa fresca or pico de gallo recipe (got some of those right here on this blog!) and tomatillos are killer.  Cook them down and add them to soups, or other sauces and watch what happens.  Here’s a basic salsa verde recipe that can be adapted to a million other dishes (like chicken enchiladas, mmmm.)

Basic Salsa Verde:

  • One pound tomatillos, roasted and chopped
  • One large onion, roughly chopped
  • One bunch cilantro (hold back four sprigs)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1-2 jalapeno or Serrano peppers, seeded and cleaned (leave whole if you like heat)
  • salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree.  Chill and serve with a dollop of sour cream and chips with sprigs of cilantro for garnish.

This sauce, as it is, can be used all over the place.  Just use your imagination.

tomatillo 2

I like to put this in the slow cooker with chicken and let it cook until it’s done, but you know that already.

Another favorite recipe is one I haven’t made in a long time, but I’m about to.  It Black Beans and Rice with Tomatillos.

  • 2 cups freshly cooked rice (white, brown, or wild, whatever you like)
  • 1 Tablespoon good quality olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3-5 tomatillos, washed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 large can black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

Set the hot cooked rice in a large bowl and put aside.  Place the drained beans in a bowl and put aside.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat then add onion.  Cook and stir until onion are caramelized.  Add garlic and cook for a minute.  Add water and tomatillos, and cook, gently stirring, until water is mostly gone and tomatillos have broken down, about 5-8 minutes.  Gently stir tomatillo sauce into warm rice, then add beans and gently stir.  Serve warm.  Very good with chicken or pork.



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