One of my favourite things about visiting Farmer’s Markets is discovering new fruits and veggies, such as ground cherries, sea asparagus, and tomatillos. I had heard of tomatillos before and even eaten one before but had never seen one in real life, in its natural state. Tomatillos are also called “tomate verde” in Mexico (which means green tomato) and are considered a staple in Mexican cooking. They are now grown across North America and are definitely available in Canada, just not abundantly…yet.
Tomatillos taste sort of like a tomato except not at all; they’ve got a lot more tang and taste a lot more citrus-y. They have a pretty long shelf life and can last for weeks in the fridge as long as you keep them covered in their husks. So if you’re at the market and you happen to stumble upon some tomatillos for sale, snatch ‘em up, even if you’re not going to make them that night. They range in colour from green to purple and are partially covered by a thin, papery husk. Looks for ones that are about the size of a golf ball. There are tons of ways to prepare tomatillos, both raw and cooked but probably the most famous is Salsa Verde, or green salsa. Here is my take on it:
Creamy Salsa Verde
My version isn’t that spicy because we are not a spice-loving family. Its great served with tortilla chips, raw veggies, or as a sauce for chicken or fish. It tastes creamy and smoky and tangy and sweet and spicy all at the same time and I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
About 10 tomatillos, husks removed and washed
1 fresh whole jalapeño pepper
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
juice for ½ a lime
salt and pepper
1. Put tomatillos and jalapeño onto a cookie sheet under the broiler and cook until slightly charred on both sides, turning after about 5 minutes. You can also do this on the barbecue but if it’s not hot enough, the tomatillos will get mushy before the get brown and fall apart.
2. Transfer tomatillos to a blender and let cool slightly.
3. Cut the top off the jalapeño, slice it in half, and scrape out the seeds.
4. Toss the jalapeño in with the tomatillos, along with the lime juice and a tsp of salt and blend until all the big chunks are gone.
5. Let cool for a couple minutes and then add in the Greek Yogurt and blend again. Taste and adjust salt & pepper to taste.
6. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.