Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tomatillo Salsa

After trying tomatillo salsa at a local Mexican restaurant, I was in love. I have brought several canned, store-bought varieties but was not impressed with the flavour compared to that of the restaurant's fresh, house-made version.

So when my CSA box recently included tomatillos, I was thrilled to be able to try making my own green tomatillo salsa at home.

If you have never seen them before, they are basically a green tomato with a husk on it that looks very similar to a cape gooseberry, only they aren't soft and sweet like a tomato or cape gooseberry. They are rather firm and seem somewhat bitter until cooked.

I scoured books and websites for recipes but ended up adapting them for what I had on hand and decided not to make it as spicy as some of the recipes suggested. There are lots of recipes out there for using canned tomatillos, but if you get your hands on some fresh tomatillos, do try this!

The results? Delicious, homemade tomatillo salsa that may even be better than the restaurant...

Tomatillo Salsa
I used fresh, pungent garlic from the garden so I used only one clove. Use two cloves if your garlic is medium-sized and from the grocery store. Serve with tortilla chips, enchiladas or burritos. Note: Tomatillos keep well at room temperature or in the fridge for several days to a couple weeks if you don't get around to making this right away!

1 1/2 lbs tomatillos, or about a dozen small to medium-sized fruits
1/4 cup (very small) yellow onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
1 large clove garlic, or two regular-sized
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 tsp salt, or to taste
pinch sugar

1. Heat broiler in oven. Remove husk from tomatillo and wash in warm water to remove sticky residue. Cut in half across the fruit and place on a baking sheet. Broil for approximately 10-12 minutes or until fruit begins to soften and shows some dark spots on the bottom but do not let it burn. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.

2. In a food processor or blender, pulse the onion, jalapeno and garlic until finely chopped. Add tomatillos with any juice that accumulated on the pan. Add lime juice, cilantro and salt. Pulse a few more times until the mixture is mixed nicely but is not too fine that you can't see the lovely bits of colour. Season with a pinch of sugar if desired and salt to taste.