A few weekends ago, Mike and I spied some tomatillos at the farmer's market in downtown Willoughby. I thought they'd be a good chance at a culinary adventure and asked the girl selling them for a recipe. She instructed me to boil them until tender ("but don't let them pop!") and then blend them with chiles, onions, garlic and cilantro for a green salsa.
Boil them? Really?
I've always believed that boiling ruins the flavor and nutritional value most vegetables. Take, for instance, beets - once you boil them long enough to make them palatable you've got squidgy, bitter mush that no one wants to eat anyway. The solution is roasting. Slow roast beets with some extra virgin olive oil, rosemary, and balsamic vinegar, giving the natural sugars a chance to carmelize, and you'll be shocked at how good they are.
So I searched the internet for evidence for tomatillo roasting, found it in a recipe by Rick Bayless and set about making a salsa of my very own. (I wish I had taken photos of the entire process, but alas...)
I husked and washed about 18 little tomatillos and put them under the broiler until they were starting to get blackened and soft, about 5-8 minutes. I then turned the oven down to 450°F and added some chopped vidalia onion, garlic and chiles (2 jalapeños and 1 serrano, right from my own garden) to the pan to roast alongside the tomatillos which had been transferred to a foil packet to save the juices.
When everything was all toasty brown and tender, I added some cilantro and dumped the whole mess into a blender. A few quick presses of a button resulted in this...
It's so good, I can't begin to tell you. Sweet, hot, a little green and tangy...and the texture, after being chilled, of a lovely marmalade. Nothing I can say would do it justice, so you'll just have to find some tomatillos and make your own.