Monday, June 14, 2010

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

One of the items in this week's co-op Mexican variety pack were tomatillos.  I prefer green Mexican sauces and salsa which are made with tomatillos but I have never bought or tried to cook with a tomatillo. My daughter even said, "what is that"?

Thanks to PBS/Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless I know what a tomatillo is but that's about it.  Tomatillos are related to the gooseberry and a staple of Mexican cuisine.  In Mexico they are often known as green tomatoes and are in fact a tomato variety.  Unlike a tomato, tomatillos have a paper like husk that you have to peel off before using. Tomatillos are grown all over the Western Hemisphere and can be grown in home gardens. Tomatillos, although sometimes known as green tomatoes, are different than unripe red tomato varieties that are also used in dishes.  So after that little botany lesson, the real question is what to do with them?

I found a great recipe for Roasted Tomatillo Salsa at  Food in Jars.  As a canning newbie I will be definitely heading back to Food in Jars in the future (especially love the photography). 

It's a very simple recipe.  First pre heat your oven to 425 and then start by taking the husks off of the tomatillos, cut in half and lay on rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminium foil.  I had a very large yellow onion in the co-op pack so used about 1/4 of that in large chunks and 5 garlic cloves still in wrapper.  I roasted a little more of the garlic because I prefer the roasted flavor rather than raw.  Roast for 10-15 minutes. In my oven 15 was just about right.  Let cool until able to handle.

In a blender put the remainder of the onion and peeled garlic. I used another 1/4 of the onion and cut in large chunks.  I used 1 more clove of garlic for a total of 5.  Clean and dice your jalapeno and add to the blender.  I used just one jalapeno and removed the ribs and seeds because I like things mild. If you like it spicy leave the seeds and ribs or add more jalapenos.  If I make this again I think I will roast the jalapenos as well.  Then add the roasted ingredients.  Make sure to squeeze garlic from skins.  Add cilantro, I used just about a tablespoon of cilantro since it is not my favorite. Add the juice of 1/2 a lime and blend.  Taste and decide if you want to add a pinch of salt and/or sugar. I added a small pinch of salt and about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.  I am not a fan of hot things and I really like sweet/salty, sweet/sour flavor combos so I added more sugar than most people would but my whole family really liked.   And finally - enjoy! 

I'm thinking of adding chunks of avocado to it tomorrow for a snack at work.  The co-op pack had four avocados and I think the freshness of the salsa will blend well with avocado. 

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