Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tomatillo Salsa

I was walking through a produce section recently and noticed some tomatillos. 
I recalled that tomatillos are one of the 1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die. I knew virtually nothing about tomatillos other than that they were a key ingredient in salsa verde, so I purchased a bunch of them and brought them home intent on learning more about them first-hand. They have a papery husk 
or shell that wraps around them 
with six flaps. 
When you pull up the flaps you encounter a sticky residue that takes a little scrubbing to get off the tomatillo and your hands. 
Without the husk they resemble a green tomato. I cut into one expecting the inside to be similar to a tomato and was quite surprised to find it solid white with white seeds. 
I took a bite and found it crispy, similar to an Asian pear, and a sweetish/sour, fruity taste. Neither the texture or the taste were what I expected. I cut up several into strips and fried them in oil in a frying pan. 
They became more runny. I then put some salsa verde next to it and sampled both (the store-bought salsa verde is on the right side of the plate below). 
The frying magnified both the sweet and sour of the tomatillo and made it much mushier. However, the salsa verde lacked the sweet/sour and had some heat and a salty taste. The salsa verde can 
revealed that the next three ingredients after tomatillo were onions, serrano peppers and salt. So I found a recipe on the internet, picked up some onions and jalapenos and decided to try my own salsa verde. I cut the remainder of my tomatillos into sections and blended them smooth in a blender. Then I chopped up a large whole onion, about five whole jalapenos, including seeds, and juiced one key lime. I left out the cilantro which is not one of my preferred ingredients. I then blended it all smooth in the blender and boiled it in a sauce pan for about 30 minutes. 
I cooked up a couple of eggs and doused them with my home-made salsa verde. 
I was a little heavy on the jalapenos, the salsa had quite a kick. But it did have some resemblance to the store bought version and was missing most of the sweet/sour taste. 

1001 indicates that the flavor grows with cooking and I found that to be true. It also indicates that they are related to the ground cherry and the husk and stickiness left by the removed husk was eerily similar to the ground cherry I found in the desert last summer (see below), 
although the desert ground cherry (see below) was many times smaller. 

1 comment:

  1. Very Interesting... this is the first time I've ever seen one.