Monday, January 12, 2009

Veggie of the Week- Tomatillo

I have decided, since I am trying to incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables into my diet, that I am going to do a vegetable/fruit of the week. Every Monday I will be posting a fruit or vegetable along with details on what it is, where it can be found, and of course what sort of dishes can be made with it. I think it is important as a good cook to know your fruits and vegetables.Since the majority of these items probably cannot be found in the produce aisle at my local grocery store I won't be posting my experiences with them but I promise, if I can find them, I will use them and post about them. Today's vegetable is the tomatillo.

The tomatillo is a plant of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, related to tomatoes, bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name. Tomatillos, referred to as green tomato (Spanish: tomate verde) in Mexico, are a staple in Mexican cuisine.

The tomatillo fruit is surrounded by a paper-like husk formed from the calyx. As the fruit matures, it fills the husk and can split it open by harvest. The husk turns brown, and the fruit can be any of a number of colors when ripe, including yellow, red, green, or even purple. Tomatillos are the key ingredient in fresh and cooked green sauces. The freshness and greenness of the husk are quality criteria. Fruit should be firm and bright green, as the green colour and tart flavour are the main culinary contributions of the fruit. Other parts of the tomatillo plant contain toxins, and should not be eaten.

Fresh ripe tomatillos will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks. They will keep even longer if the husks are removed and the fruits are placed in sealed plastic bags stored in the refrigerator. They may also be frozen whole or sliced.

Information provided by: Wikipedia

Mexican Take-Out Tomatillo Salsa

12 ounces tomatillos, husked and rinsed (6 to 10)
serrano chilies (I suggest using Jalapenos if you don't like things too hot)
1/2 cup chopped
fresh cilantro
1/2 medium white onion, minced (1/2 cup)
garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons
fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons
cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon
salt, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1.)Preheat the broiler. Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with foil.
2.)Place the tomatillos and chiles on the foil and broil for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until dark brown spots develop on the chiles and tomatillos.
3.)Cool, then transfer to a blender, including all the juices that have run out onto the baking sheet.
4.)Add the cilantro, onion, garlic, lime juice, vinegar, salt, sugar, and 1/4 cup water. Blend to a puree.
5.)Heat the oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the tomatillo puree and bring to a boil. Continue to cook, stirring, until the salsa has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and taste for seasoning; adjust if necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve at room temperature or chilled.
6.)Make Ahead: This salsa can be made ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen up to 2 months.

*I found this recipe off of another favorite website of mine, It looks really yummy and I plan on trying it out as soon as I can find some tomatillos. Daniel and I are both really big salsa fans and we have never had one made from tomatillos. I can't wait!!


ChristineM said...

Great post! And a great idea to do the veggie of the week. Tomatillo is one that I've never tried but always wanted to

La Gitana said...

Katie...what a fascinating veggie! :) I think I am inspired to find some and make your salsa recipe! Thanks so much for the tutorial!