There was a small basket of them displayed. The sign said “New.” Distinguishable from green tomatoes because of their papery overskirts, the newly arrived tomatillos looked so appealing that I took five of them home.
I always like the idea of tomatillos, but whenever I buy them, it’s like the first time all over again. I’ll vaguely remember that you should pre-cook them a little, and then refer to a cookbook or two for the preferred methods for that.
The thing is I’m drawn to them because I like Tex-Mex flavors. I’ve bought tomatillos in the past, and my husband has absorbed them into his chilis. I’m sure I’ve done something with them myself, but I truly don’t remember.
This time, though, they were mine. And I was happy to make a basic salsa.
Tomatillos have a light flavor, and are a little tart. One cookbook suggested to remove the papery husks, rinse off any stickiness, chop into large pieces and parboil for just a minute. Another cookbook suggested “roasting” the tomatillos on a dry skillet over medium heat, to gently char them.
I decided to go with the second suggestion. I just liked the idea of some browning. Took maybe ten minutes, turning them over as areas got some softened, dark spots. They don’t cook all the way through in those few minutes. I think it takes some of the sharpness from them.
Then it’s just chopping and combining. I diced up the tomatillos. To that, I added half a medium-sized onion, diced. I chopped a generous handful of cilantro and tossed that in, along with a minced jalapeno pepper. I seasoned with salt and pepper.
The combination of the greens and whites was beautiful, as was the combination of flavors. The tomatillos were a mix of softer and firmer textures, because of the pan-roasting, and kept that mix of lightness and tartness in their flavor. Cilantro brought the citrusy notes, and the onion and jalapeno some heat and bite.
Perfect, of course, with tortilla chips.
We ate it all in one sitting!