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Tomatillo recipes?

I've just planted some tomatillos but have never really worked with them... even though I'm in the Southwest and they are in many ethnic markets. Shame on moi. But I'm expanding the repertoire, hence this post.

I'm a huge fan of salsas/sauces, so any kicking recipe suggestions would be appreciated.

But I'm also wondering how else they might be employed? Do they substitute well for Southern green tomato recipes?


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  1. They're not really tomatoes, but a type of berry I believe, you definitely wouldn't want to deep fry them. I make a salsa that has just 3 or 4 ingredients, so delicious, and also put them in a turkey chili I just started making (Bowl of the Wife of Kit Carson it's called, original recipe didn't call for tomatillas though). I can post the recipes later this morning if you want.

    1 Reply
    1. re: coll

      I agree--roasted tomatillo salsa is great, as is turkey chili. I make this recipe, although w/ half the meat (which is still lots): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo....

    2. Simple salsa verde:
      1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, halved, removed from paper skin, roasted in oven (cut side up) for about 12 min at 425/450. Way better on the grill (use a little oil on the tom skin)
      Blend those greenies with about 1/4 white onion, a hot green pepper or two and some cilantro.
      If using the grill, throw on the onion and peppers for additional smoky flavor.
      No lime for me.

      I use this salsa on homemade pizzas. Jack or pepperjack cheese and okra are my favorites with it.

      Regarding your question about using them in southern recipes, I don't know. They have a distinct flavor, that's for sure. I do know that I have not really liked them as a tomato substitute for the pasta/gnocchi dishes that I have played with.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Alan N

        Yes! Salsa verde! In the version I make, I:
        -use lime juice
        -Roast (high heat, brief time in oven or on grill) the onion, tomatillos and some garlic cloves before blending
        -Will sometimes blend in a ripe avocado or two

        Sometimes I'll use this salsa (without the avocado) as a base for chili verde.

        Alan, would have never though about putting okra on pizza- how do you prepare it before scattering on the crust? (cutting, cooking, etc.)

        1. re: 4Snisl

          I like okra on pizza the most when using the frozen, cut variety. Favorite is GOYA.
          It is very good, but looses appeal when overcooked (gets slimy), so for frozen, take out enough to cover the pie to your liking a minute or two before cooking.
          8-14 minutes at 450 is my window for frozen okra as a topping.

          If your pizza cooks in less than 8 minutes, let the okra come to room temp first.

          The fresh okra worked best on french bread style pizza, less cooking time. Cut into pretty thick circular slices.

          It's good with traditional pizza sauces too.

      2. Tomatillos are a member of the gooseberry species...I grew them last summer; I had a bumper crop of them and still have some in my freezer. I use them in roasted poblano tomatillo sauce and in chili. Since they have a citrus flavor, you can pair other ingredients with them that bring out that flavor; I've used them chopped up in a spinach & strawberry salad, with tomatoes as a stuffing for grilled fish and cooked in rice.

        They are not a substitute for green tomato recipes, unfortunately

        1. I've used tomatillos for years for roasted salsas, as a component in tortilla soup and in a version of green chili.

          Last year was the first year we have grown them and I got to play :-)
          I found I also like them in fresh salsa (lemony fresh taste) great on fish and shrimp or just chips. Although my daughter found that it made here tongue breakout at first so I added a touch of agave nectar to temper the acidity. I made a latin version of ratatouille with chayote and other squash and mexican onions that was a winner. I also tried quick pickling them ( I don't can yet) this was good but I think I'll play with the pickling spices this year, as in my mind tomatillos are so linked with latin flavor. We all really liked the battered and fried wedges I served with fish and chips. Different than fried green tomatoes (more lemony?) but whats not to like about deep fried anything? If I canned I'd play with pickle and chutney recipes. Now I'm wondering what dehydrating would do for them, hmmm. Hope your crop goes well, have fun. M

          2 Replies
          1. re: just_M

            Good recipe for Chile Verde. I add cannellini beans to mine.


          2. I like to use tomatillos in an Ecuadorian Seco the Chivo, goat stew.
            Laylita's recipe calls for narajillas, a tart tropical fruit that I only find occasionally frozen in Latino shops. I think tomatillos are a decent substitute. The tartness of the fruit is balanced with some raw sugar (pilloncillo).

            Tomatillos also work with pork in a green chile stew (if your regional preferences allow :) )

            1 Reply
            1. re: paulj

              Bumping an old thread, but DANG, that stew looks good. I've got tomatillos coming in now, and was looking for a special way to use them (they're kind of exotic around the Pacific NW!). It'll be a hoot to make this, thank you!

            2. Tomatillos pair well with chicken and pork.

              For a really simple summer dish simply blend (blender or food processor) fresh (unroasted, uncooked) tomatillos with some white onion, a garlic clove or two, a serrano chile with seeds, a big handful of cilantro and salt to taste until somewhat smooth, but still with some small chunks for texture. Taste add more salt if needed, or they may need some sugar. Serve over grilled chicken or pork tenderloin.

              Salsas with tomatillos tend to thicken as they sit, just add water if it gets to thick.

              Tomatillos also play well with meaty fishes

              1. they also freeze really well after a quick simmer pack with the simmer water and freeze. i then defrost, and use with chicken enchiladas recipie...or salsas, so good with cilantro!

                1. I've made salsa verde using a lot of different recipes, but now thanks to this imperfect one (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...) and the comments on it, I've come up with a version I find pretty perfect:

                  I broil about two pounds of fresh tomatillos, a quartered onion, a couple of jalapenos, and several unpeeled garlic cloves -- turning them all maybe once -- until everything's pretty charred. (Sometimes I remove the garlic first if it gets too black.) After discarding the garlic peels and pepper stems, I dump everything in the blender, add at least half a cup of cilantro leaves, sprinkle in some salt and lime juice, and puree.

                  I freeze large batches of the stuff so I can make pozole or pork shoulder with it in the winter. It's also really great on its own, as a sauce, since it has that unmistakable piquant freshness and also a great smoky flavor from the charring of the onion and garlic.

                  1. I keep a salsa of roasted tomatillos, roasted garlic and chipotle chile (and a little salt) in my fridge, to add a delicious smoky spiciness to many dishes

                    1. I like this traditional salsa combination: http://www.chow.com/recipes/11456
                      EDIT: Oops, just noticed the above post. Redundancy alert ...

                      You almost can't go wrong mixing them with any available fresh or dried chile of character. Hopefully your local Library has books by Bayless, Kennedy, Quintana, et al. to expand your horizons outside of this topic :-).

                      1. Just picked this up off a Rick Bayless Tweet. It's a recipe for a Bloody Mary using a tomatillo base rather than the regular tomato base. I'm assuming since he tweeted the recipe, it's probably okay to post it here?

                        For the green base puree until smooth - 2 Cups each of chopped tomatillos and chopped cucumbers, 1 serrano chile, 1/2 cup of cilantro, 1/2 cup of water and a tablespoon of salt.

                        To make the actual drink - in a cocktail shaker with ice, add 3 Tablespoons of the puree, 1 1/2 ounces of blanco (silver) tequila, 2 Tablespoons of lime juice and 1 Tablespoon of simple syrup. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass over ice.

                        If anyone tries this, would you please post how it turned out and if you liked it or not.

                        1. I ran across this recipe last night--Posole is one of my favorite dishes, and I can't wait to make it with tomatillos!


                          1. I love tomatillos in a pork shoulder braise till the meat falls apart and becomes a kind chili. I spice and flavor according to taste and mood, but typically would use cumin, chili powder, maybe garlic powder, oregano, a splash of fish sauce, garlic and onion. Tyler Florence has a recipe along these lines:


                            The resulting dish is great in a bowl, or as a filling for tacos, or much else--really versatile and delicious. The tomatillos have a brightness and acidity that just rocks the tastebuds.

                            1. I make a salsa with raw tomatillos and avocado that's especially good on shrimp or fish tacos and can also be used as a dip for chips/ vegetables/whatever, as you would guacamole.

                              Mince very finely in a mini-food processor or by hand:

                              2 medium tomatillos, or 3 small, quartered
                              1/4 cup diced white onion
                              1 med clove garlic
                              jalapeno or serrano chili to taste (I usually start with 1 and add more as needed)
                              1/2 tsp salt

                              Once this is very finely minced, add:

                              1 ripe avocado, chunked

                              Pulse in the processor or hand mash to desired consistency. I prefer it slightly chunky. Taste and add more salt and chile if needed. (If you want it more acid, add lime juice, but I rarely find this necessary.)

                              The raw tomatillos seem to inhibit the browning of the avocado, so the color of the salsa/dip is still quite bright a day or two later.