Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillos are a staple of Latin American cuisine and are often used in green sauces. Even though tomatillos are sometimes called "green tomatoes," they should not be confused with green, unripe tomatoes. Tomatoes are in the same family as tomatillos, but a different genus. Tomatillos are a great fruit to grow at home because ripe tomatillos will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks. They will keep even longer if the husks are removed first.

When growing tomatillos, it is important to keep in mind that they are self-incompatible, which means you need to have two plants that are genetically different enough to create fruit and viable seed. In other words, if you had just one tomatillo plant you would not get fruit. If you only have one tomatillo planted in your yard and you still get fruit, there must be another plant planted closely enough, for pollinators to carry the pollen of one plant to the other.

For her salsa recipe, Garden Chef Megan McCarthy threw some 'Purple Coban' tomatillos on the grill and roasted the rest in a cast iron pan.

Making your own salsa at home is quick and easy, as long as you have a food processor and a few key, fresh ingredients. It’s good for you too, as many commercial salsas contain preservatives and other undesirables.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

1 lb tomatillos, husked
1 Red Fresno chile pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
½ sweet onion, peeled and quartered
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
juice of ½ fresh lime
salt and pepper to taste

Place the tomatillos, whole chile, garlic cloves, and onion in a dry, cast iron pan. Roast on medium heat, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until all ingredients have charred a bit and tomatillos have softened. Remove from pan and allow to slightly cool. Remove seeds from chile pepper. Place ingredients in food processor and pulse. Add in cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Salsa can be warmed in saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes if mellower flavor is desired. Serve with favorite tortilla chips or as a sauce over chicken and fish.

Alternative roasting methods: Place whole tomatillos under the broiler on a baking sheet and roast for about 8 minutes, turning a few times. Grilling is also a great way to roast tomatillos.

Find more Garden Chef recipes here.

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