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Tomatillos 101


Tomatillos. The elusive green orbs often found in salsa verde. Maybe you’ve seen them in the produce department of your local grocery store, collecting dust, and wondered, “What’s the deal with tomatillos?” What exactly are tomatillos? Can they be used in dishes other than salsa? Do they taste good raw?

Today I’d like to shed some light on these strange green berries (yes, I said berries) so you can better understand how to enjoy them. First of all, tomatillos resemble green tomatoes, yet are more closely related to cape gooseberries.

They grow in paper husks that must be peeled off before serving. The husks form paper balloons that hang off the plants. The tomatillos start very small, then fill the paper balloons as they grow. When the paper is tight around the tomatillos, they are ready to pick!

The confusion between green tomatoes and tomatillos is understandable. Once peeled, tomatillos look just like green tomatoes and offer a bright tart flavor as well.

However, the interior texture is more like a fine-pored sponge rather than filled with moist pockets of seeds like a tomato. The best way to describe the inside of a tomatillo is like a tart watermelon. And tart is an understatement!

Tomatillos offer a vibrant tang, like lemon, that enhances any dish that needs a touch of acidity for balance. They can be served raw in salads, yet their natural flavor is improved by cooking.

I like to pan fry or roast them to soften the texture and bring the tart factor down a notch. Most often, I slice them into rounds for pan-frying, and cut them into wedges for roasting.

The rustic texture of cooked tomatillos makes a great base for thick dishes like salsas, sauces, and soups. How else can you use tomatillos? Try them in:

  • Guacamole

  • Chicken enchiladas

  • Slaw

  • Cocktails

  • Chili

  • Potato based soups

  • Sautéed corn dishes

  • Roasted in tacos

  • On sandwiches or burgers

  • Breaded and pan fried as an appetizer

And of course, in homemade salsa verde!

Tomatillos are a perky addition to any recipe. Plus, they are loaded with vitamins and minerals and are thought to ward off all sorts of ailments, from bloating to cancer.

Next time you pass the lonely pile of tomatillos in the produce department, take some home and experiment. You’ll be surprised at how they boost the flavor of mundane dishes!

Fried Tomatillos with Creamy Cumin Dip

  • 1 tbsp. Hot sauce

  • 1¼ tsp. ground cumin

  • 1 tsp. fresh lime juice

  • ¼ tsp. ground coriander

  • 8 large tomatillos

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 c. breadcrumbs

  • 1 c. flour

  • 2 tsp. salt

  • 1 c. canola oil

Directions

​In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, hot sauce, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, lime juice, and coriander. Refrigerate dip until ready to serve.

  1. Cut tomatillos into 1/4-inch-thick slices and set aside. In a shallow small bowl, beat eggs. In a shallow medium bowl, combine breadcrumbs, flour, salt, and remaining cumin.

  2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat canola oil. Working in batches, dip tomatillo slices in egg, then in breading; shake off excess. Repeat. Fry the slices until deep golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Serve immediately with reserved creamy cumin dip.

  3. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, hot sauce, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, lime juice, and coriander. Refrigerate dip until ready to serve.

  4. Cut tomatillos into 1/4-inch-thick slices and set aside. In a shallow small bowl, beat eggs. In a shallow medium bowl, combine breadcrumbs, flour, salt, and remaining cumin.

  5. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat canola oil. Working in batches, dip tomatillo slices in egg, then in breading; shake off excess. Repeat. Fry the slices until deep golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Serve immediately with reserved creamy cumin dip.

#easy #veggetables

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Phone: (816) 646-1301

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