Tomatillos are a staple in Mexican cuisine and the key ingredient in Salsa Verde. Sometimes referred to as green tomatoes, Tomatillos are similar to tomatoes, but feature a papery outer husk. Roasted or boiled, then pureed, Tomatillos have a vibrant tart-lemony-grassy taste that adds a bright note to salsas, enchiladas and other Latin-inspired dishes.
Whether hosting a fiesta (Cinco de Mayo!) or getting together with family, home cooks can add a delicious Mexican flair to dishes with the bright and tangy Tomatillo, now available at supermarkets.
Tomatillo means “little tomato” in Spanish. Cultivated since Aztec times, Tomatillos are closely related to Cape Gooseberries and Chinese Lantern Plants with their beautiful papery calyxes that cover the glossy green fruits like little lampshades.
Tomatillos range in size like tomatoes, but their greenish-yellow skin and flesh is much firmer, less juicy and contains very small seeds. They feature a slightly acidic taste with a bright, lemony flavor, but they are mild with no spiciness or peppery heat.
Select Tomatillos that are firm and dry, with clean, close-fitting husks that show no blackness or mold. The fruits should be hard; they do not give like tomatoes. Store loosely wrapped in your refrigerator’s vegetable drawer for up to 2 weeks.
When ready to prepare, remove the husk (a slightly sticky residue underneath the husk is normal), chop up the fruit and boil or puree until tender. Or, roast husked fruits whole in the oven or on the barbecue.
When combined with vinegar, onion and a bit of spicy chile peppers, Tomatillos make a divine Salsa Verde (“Green Salsa”). Add to that some fresh cilantro and roasted corn, and you’ve got a lip-smacking multi-purpose sauce, dressing and dip. (If you find the flavor too tart, mellow it out with a touch of honey or sugar.) Use homemade Tomatillo sauce for enchiladas, Tex-Mex casseroles, tacos or quesadillas. (Although Tomatillos can be eaten raw, most preparations involve some amount of heat for tenderizing the firm flesh.)
Frieda’s Tomatillo Salsa
The fresh taste of this green salsa is perfect for fried fish and seafood. Also works well with chicken, steaks, and cheese quesadillas.
Wash Tomatillos and quarter. Place in food processor or blender along with Jalapeño chile; cover and process till pureed. Add onions and vinegar; process till smooth. Place mixture in saucepan; bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, 5 minutes. Cool; season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 1 1/2 cups salsa.
Source: Frieda’s, Inc./ www.friedas.com