Wednesday, October 14, 2009

sweet & hot

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 jalapeƱos 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.

12 comments:

cybrus said...

Sounds fantastic! I'll have to give it a shot.

Evyl Robot said...

Good for you! I love making green salsa! Next time, try them on the grill or in a skillet on top of the stove. Not for so long that they get completely mushy, just a little blackened and peely in places with overall softness.

bgeek said...

Roasting is always better than boiling, especially vegetables.

Rabbit said...

Primo's in Dallas has a wunnerful mesquite-grilled chicken with a tomatillo glaze that has caused delightful culinary hallucinations in people.

Regards,
Rabbit.

DirtCrashr said...

Yummy!! My favorite salsa is made with tomatillos, but I'm surprised they had those in Ohio. I guess "Los Californios" get around. ;-)

Mike W. said...

I'm drooling. Are you using it as dipping salsa or putting it in some other dish?

Jay G said...

Three words best describe this: OM. NOM. NOM.

Breda said...

Mike, I'm putting it on everything!

Haji said...

There's really nothing that can be done to beets to make them palatable. Same goes for brussels sprouts. Nasty is nasty. Salsa, on the other hand, is the food of the gods...at least those on the Food Network. Man that looks good. S'cuse me, gotta go to the kitchen now...

BobG said...

I got a bumper crop of tomatillos this year (I'm actually still picking them). They freeze quite well for use during the winter. I haven't planted any in ten years; I just let a few go to seed every year, and then thin out the volunteer plants when they come up in the spring. They'll grow anyplace you can grow tomatoes or peppers.

Damsel said...

You should check out Emeril's Green Enchiladas. They're made from tomatillos, cilantro, Serrano chiles and spinach in corn tortillas.

GurgleblorpBrappp Owowow said...

Salsa Verde gives me intense digestive problems pretty much every time. I can eat hotpeppers all day with no ill effects, but that green salsa...

Catastrophe. It's like trying to digest a live grizzly bear.