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Food & Entertaining

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Author: Sydney Dye
Issue: March, 2014, Page 52

The tomatillo (tohm-ah-TEE-oh), also called the “Mexican green tomato,” looks like a small green tomato with a husk. Its lemon-like flavor is perfect paired with spicy food or alongside grilled items. Tomatillos are found in most grocery stores and Latin markets.

For those who like to grow their own, the tomatillo plant is a great addition to the desert garden; it likes full sun and well-drained soil. Tomatillos are tough, semi-wild and do not require as much fussing over as tomatoes. Plant more than one, however, as it is not self-pollinating.

This recipe for salsa verde, or green salsa, packs a punch and is easy to make. Roasting the tomatillos first gives the salsa an additional depth of flavor. Serve as a dip with tortilla chips, use as an enchilada sauce, or pour over cooked fish or chicken.

Makes 3 cups


12 tomatillos
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1/2 cup white onion, peeled and quartered
1-2 small green peppers (like jalapeños or serranos), stemmed, seeded and cut in half
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt to taste

Photo by Garrett Cook
PREHEAT oven to 375°.
REMOVE papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well. Cut in half.
PLACE tomatillos, garlic, onion and peppers in a medium-size bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
SPOON contents onto a foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Turn the tomatillos cut-side down, place in oven, and roast until golden brown (8-10 minutes). Turn tomatillos again, along with the garlic, and continue to roast until completely soft (2-3 minutes).
TRANSFER roasted tomatillo mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the cilantro and lime juice, and pulse until all ingredients are just chopped and mixed (do not over process). If necessary, add additional lime juice—one tablespoon at a time—to achieve desired consistency.
SEASON to taste with salt, and cool in the refrigerator.
SERVE with chips or as a salsa accompaniment to Mexican dishes.

Tomatillo Tips
• When purchasing tomatillos, select small-size fruit as they tend to be sweeter than the larger ones.

• The condition of the husk indicates the fruit’s age; it should be light brown and fresh looking; avoid those that appear shriveled or dried out.

• If you are not going to use purchased tomatillos immediately, leave their husks intact and wrap them around the fruit. This will keep the tomatillos fresh longer.

• Store tomatillos on the counter or in the refrigerator. They will keep well for several weeks to a month. They may also be frozen whole or sliced.

Sydney Dye is a home gardener, chef and owner of First Fig Culinary Adventures in Scottsdale.

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