Tips & Tricks

5 Easy Reasons To Love Tomatillos All Summer Long

Tomatillos aren’t green tomatoes—but they sure look a lot like them beneath their papery husks. Here are five ways to delight in the harvest all summer long.

Tomatillos aren’t green tomatoes—but they sure look a lot like them beneath their papery husks. The green fruits offer an irresistible tartness to every dish they appear in, as well as a respite from the influx of summer tomatoes that grace our plates for the summer months. Native to Mexico, you’ll see tomatillos most often in Mexican-style dishes. But don’t stop there. There are ways to delight in the harvest all summer long.

An Incredible Roasted Salsa
When cooked, tomatillos lose some of their tartness and gain a saucy richness you’ll want to drink up as often as you can. Throw your husked tomatillos on a roasting pan with a clove of garlic, a few wedges of onion, and a whole jalapeno with the stem trimmed off. Toss with oil, then roast at 450°F for about 10 minutes, until the outsides of the veggies darken and the tomatillos collapse. Now add everything to the blender and puree until smooth, adding salt and cilantro if you like. Though you can top your burritos and tacos with this gem of a salsa, you can also use it to make one of the simplest and best meals of all time: Put the whole batch in a pot and thin it with some broth, then simmer pieces of of chicken right in there. Serve with rice or tortillas and a little sour cream.

The Easiest Raw Salsa You barely need anything but a bundle of tomatillos from the farmstand to turn the simplest tacos into masterpieces. Remove the husks, then throw the tomatillos into a blender or food processor with a bit of chopped onion, a garlic clove, and some salt. Process until smooth. Add a handful of cilantro if you’d like. Then simply spoon this bright and clean green salsa onto your tacos–it’s incomparable with pork fillings. If the sourness is too strong, mellow it with dollops of sour cream.

Tomatillo Guacamole
Why let tomatoes punctuate every bowl of guacamole you mash up this summer when a chopped tomatillo can surprise guests with each mysteriously tangy, completely green, and totally delicious? You’ll want to grab one tomatillo for every four avocados to get the right taste and texture here. If they’re particularly juicy, leave some of that juice on the cutting board so as not to dilute your rich avocado dip.

Fried Green Tomatillos
The Southern concept of slicing, coating, and frying green tomatoes extends perfectly to tomatillos, which are just as firm and tart. To make, use the three-plate method: first, dust both sides of a tomatillo slice with flour; then, dip the slice into beaten egg. Finally, cover the tomatillo with fine bread crumbs. Fry the slices in a saucepan filled with about an inch of hot oil, then drain the crispy slices on paper towels and serve alongside eggs for a Southern-inflected brunch.

Mexican-Italian Fusion Fun
Though actual cross-pollination between the two cuisines is limited to a few thousand Italians who immigrated to Mexico in the 19th century, these two American all-time favorite imports fuse beautifully. You’ll get an idea of how brilliantly tomatillos can stand in for tomatoes when you substitute them in the spaghetti sauce you use for making manicotti, chicken parmesan, or even pizza. There’s an easy explanation for this: like enchiladas, all three are topped with cheese.

(Images: Mixed Greens, Chow, Oprah)


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