Tomatillos are also called "tomate verde" in Mexico (which means green tomato) and are considered a staple in Mexican cooking.
Tomatillo is a member of the nightshade family, related to tomatoes. It now grows everywhere in the Western Hemisphere and is common in Texas gardens.
The fruit of the tomatillo is green and about the size of a large cherry tomato. The inside is white and meatier than a tomato.
They grow to maturity inside of a husk. They can range in size from about an inch in diameter to the size of apricots.
They are covered by a papery husk which may range from the pale green color of the fruit itself to a light grocery-bag brown.
The husks are inedible and should be removed before use.
Some delicious recipes using
1 pound fresh tomatillos = 1 (11-ounce) can of tomatillos.
When growing your own, they are ripe when the tomatillo fills out its papery husk but are still green in color. If they turn yellow, they are still useable but at this stage loose much of their tangy flavor.
The plants will grow to a height of 3 to 4 feet. They are generally available from May through November and are drought tolerant.
Some people will let them ripen until they are yellow-white; some even turn purple (the skin at least). The flavor of the fully ripe tomatillo is very sweet and adds an unusual taste to salsas.
Choose small tomatillos. They are sweeter than the larger, golf-ball-size ones.
The condition of the "husk" is a good indication of the freshness of the fruit. The husk should be light brown and fresh looking (not shriveled and dried).
Unlike tomatoes, tomatillos should be firm and free of defects.
If you are not going to use them immediately, leave the husks intact, wrapped around the fruit like little paper bags.
Either store on the counter or in the refrigerator. They should never be stored in air-tight containers.
They will keep well for several weeks to a month. They may also be frozen whole or sliced.
Remove the husks before using as the husks are inedible. Tomatillos are very easy to cook with because they don't need to be peeled or seeded.
Their texture is firm when raw, but soften when cooked. When growing your own fresh tomatillos, they are ready to harvest when the husks burst.
Rinse before using as the tomatillo is covered by a sticky substance. Do not peel the green skin.
Tomatillos can by very inconsistent in flavor, with some being sour and others tasting mild and sweet. If the tomatillos are to tart for your taste,
try adding a little sugar to balance the taste.
Raw - Raw or uncooked tomatillos are often in Mexican sauces.
They add a fresh citrus-like flavor.
Blanching - Blanching mellows the flavor. Bring a large pot of
water to a boil. Add the whole tomatillos (husks removed and rinsed) and
boil for approximately 5 minutes or until soft. Drain and crush or puree as
directed in your recipe.
Fire Roasting - Roast under the broiler, with a propane torch, or
over an open flame such as a grill. Make sure the heat is quite hot before
roasting. If the heat is not hot enough, the tomatillos wil turn mushy
before being charred. The charred or slightly blackened skins will enrich
your sauces with a smoky flavor.
Dry Roasting - This will produce an earthy, nutty flavor. Place
the tomatillos in a heavy fry pan (preferably a cast iron pan). Turn heat
to low and roast for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
Favorite Recipes Using Tomatillos:
Enchiladas con Salsa Verde (Enchiladas with Green Sauce)
Salsa Verde is to Mexican cuisine what tomato sauce is to Italian food.
Salsa verde is similar to red salsa, except that instead of using red tomatoes, it uses the small green tomatillo.
The translation of this dish literally means Swiss Enchiladas. This is a
version of the signature dish at Samborn's Restaurant in Mexico City, the one in the Casa de Azulejos
(House of Tiles) in Mexico City's historic central district. Some people say it was created as a “tourist” type meal. Calling
the dish “Swiss” was a tribute to the large amount of cheese and cream, which is used in the recipe.
Jazzy Pork Tenderloin in Slow Cooker
This is an easy-to-prepare pork tenderloin roast recipes.
Mike’s Bachelor-Style Enchiladas
A very simple dish to make, however simple can be good, and these definitely are good. They are also quick,
easy, and don’t mess up every pot in the kitchen.
Pork Chile Verde
As soon as I took a bite, I was immediately reminded of a meal my best
friend’s mother used to always have stewing on the stove and referred to it
as her peppers. We used to eat this with homemade tortillas enjoying the spicy
and comforting flavors. I just had to learn to make this meal, and spent an evening quizzing Jesse on all the steps to prepare this dish.
Roasted Chile Pepper & Tomatillo Salsa
Fiery hot salsa - for those you like salsa hot! So good and so addicting!
Salsa verde is to Mexican cuisine what tomato sauce is to Italian food. Its most popular use is as a chip dip, but also used as a sauce on meats.
Smokey Toasted Arbol (or Guajillo) Salsa
This is not your usual salsa. It is rusty red, very spicy, and perfect for drizzling over tacos, eggs, or anything cooked on your grill.
Spicy Chicken and Tomatillo Soup
I created this delicious soup Mexican-style soup because I had too many tomatillos
in my garden. I figured there had to be something else to make with them other
than a salsa. I was right, make this wonderful soup for your family.
This recipe is courtesy of Betty Forner and Trey Forner of Vancouver, Washington. I first tasted this outstanding guacamole at our friend's
Louisiana Crawfish Boil.
This is kind of like a salsa verde, but with the addition of avocado. This salsa
is so good and very addictive!
Tomatillo and Cucumber Gazpacho Soup
I am a huge fan of Gazpacho soup in
the summertime which is a cold tomato-based raw vegetable soup. I also love
Salsa Verde and cucumbers, so I decided to change up the ingredients for
traditional gazpacho and make a tomatillo-cucumber version.