Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Many of you may have no idea what a tomatillo is or have never personally purchased one but most of you have eaten it. That fabulous green salsa that you smother your fish tacos with at Rubio's or dip chips in like it is your last meal -- thank the tomatillo. It is delicious when mixed just right with other key ingredients.

This was my first year growing them. I really had no idea what to expect or if they would even grow well. Well, they do. I have six plants that are about 3 feet tall, at least, that are full and lush and dripping with fruit. They are so cute in design. First, the paper lantern forms; a green papery, airy balloon that hosts the growing fruit. It is hallow until the fruit is ready and the little lantern starts to split. It is then time to harvest.

You can certainly get these at most stores and you will usually see them with papery brown husks and the fruit a bright green. What I have learned is that the truly fresh tomatillos are the ones with greener husks and the fruit is a bit on the yellow side.In fact, when harvesting them you may often find them on the ground. If they are still firm, they are great.These make some of the best tasting salsa's. When the husks start to turn brown, they are loosing their freshness. When selecting tomatillos, you want them to be firm and not bruised. These tomato cousins are tart and a bit lemony, perfect for salsa's and sauces. You can also add them to salads and stir fry them a bit to release flavor. They have good fiber and Vitamin C and K. You don't need to seed them, just cut them up whole. Be sure when preparing them to peel the husks off and wash them, they are sticky at first.
Salsa verde is one of the easiest salsa's to make. I received this recipe from my SIL , Kelli a few years ago and have been using it since.

Tomatillo Salsa

1 jalapeno
1 1/2 bunches of cilantro, no stems
12-15 fresh tomatillos, about 1 1/2 to 2 inch size, use less if larger
juice of 1 lime
1-3 teaspoons of sugar, or other sweetener
salt to taste

Boil the jalapeno in water; just place in water in microwave and cook on high for 3 minutes. Cut off stem and throw the whole thing in blender with all other ingredients. Make sure you have husked and cleaned the tomatillos first. Blend until almost smooth. Chill.

Once you have this delightful salsa made, here is a quick little dinner you can then throw together. So easy and so tasty.

Use a fresh flour tortilla and sprinkle with pepper jack cheese. Put in a hot oven until it is bubbly and a little crispy on the edges. Shred chicken, either home cooked or a rotisserie type. Toss with Tomatillo salsa. Put the chicken on top of the tortilla after cheese has been melted. Put it back in the oven just a bit to heat the chicken.

When done, add tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, avacados, etc. Roll up a bit and munch. Lots of flavor! Yum Yum. Now that was quicker than driving to Rubios.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this recipe. We had some tomatillo plants come back after last season in addition to 2 we planted. We now have 6 from out of nowhere! I've been looking for a good salsa verde recipe to try. Can't wait to make some.

Diana said...

I wanted to grow tomatillos (I'm assuming they are a summer plant) but did not see any at the A&P nursery. I know sometimes popular plants sell out within the hour of delivery. Were these from transplant or from seed?

Shari Goodman said...

These were plants and I bought them at Lowe's this year. I didn't see any at A & P either. I haven't seen these very often but I know A & P will order them for you on request. I will definitely be planting these every year.

Gramma Betsy said...

Does anyone know if these will grow in Utah? I haven't seen them at any of the local stores (including Lowes). Tomatillos are also wonderful blended up with a jalapeno and some lime juice in ranch dressing for the "Cafe Rio" clone.

Linda said...

I'm pretty sure they'll grow in Utah. I have grown a prolific crop of tomatillos in Idaho.

Marilyn said...

Wow! That is wonderful. I never thought of growing them but I definitely will next year. We LOVE green salsa. Thanks. How do you preserve them when you have a ton? Freeze? Can?

Shari Goodman said...

I am just learning how to preserve since this is my first year but you can can it like salsa. I am going to also try to freeze some. I know it may change the consistency a little as the tomatillo's contain lots of pectin. I will let you all know! For now, we just eat it all the time!

Toby said...

Can you grow them in Utah? The recipe was great, but we didn't eat it all - how long will it last in the fridge?

Shari Goodman said...

If you can grow tomatoes you can grow tomatillos. The salsa lasts at least a week, maybe two. Use it in other recipes also, I love to put it in some plain hummus as a dip also or in ranch dressing for salad.

johnson six said...

I do a little variation of this recipe, it's the same, but with garlic (yum) and 2 whole avacados blended in as well, deelish!!!

Anonymous said...

You're a mother of 5!? No way.. you look gorgeous