Tomatillos are not regularly available in local markets, but when you see these treasures pick some up to make salsa verde. Tomatillos look like small, green tomatoes encased in a papery husk, and are sometimes known as husk tomatoes or Mexican husk tomatoes. Their tart flavor is reminiscent of green tomatoes, and both tomatoes and tomatillos are nightshades; but the tomatillo is more closely related to ground cherries and Cape gooseberries.
In choosing tomatillo, look for fruit that fills the husk and a husk that is supple, not dry. When the husk is removed, the fruit should be sticky. The stickier the tomatillo is, the fresher it is. Be sure to rinse well before using, as the sticky substance is also bitter.
Once washed, tomatillos can be frozen by spreading them out on a sheet tray, placing the tray in the freezer and then collecting the frozen tomatillos into a zip top bag. Frozen tomatillos can be stored up to 12 months.
Salsa verde is delicious on tortilla chips and tacos, of course, but is also wonderful on grilled fish, chicken and steak.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, roughly chopped (seeds and membranes can be removed for a less-spicy salsa)
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 Cups tomatillos, peeled, rinsed, cored and roughly chopped (about 8-10)
Salt & pepper
¾ - 1 Cup cilantro, rinsed (a large handful)
Zest and juice of one lime
Sauté onion, jalapeno, garlic and tomatillos in olive oil over medium-high heat 5-8 minutes, until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Alternatively, these ingredients can be tossed with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process tomatillo mixture with cilantro, lime zest and juice.
While juggling my son's peanut allergy with my own lactose intolerance, I make fresh, delicious food with a local, organic focus.
My column, Food For Thought, appears in the Whitman-Hanson Express newspapers.
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