Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Tell-All

True confessions of a tomatillo virgin.
I just lost my tomatillo virginity. In fact, I was so green, I didn’t know tomatillos were purple. I bet you're thinking, “You did the salsa once, and you’re already dishing this tomatillo tell-all? Who are you to tell me how to do a tomatillo?” Well, let’s put it this way. If there was a reality show called The Apprentice: Tomatillo Salsa Maker, I would have been hired—maybe even running my own empire by now. But back to my chaste beginnings.

I had always seen tomatillos at Latin markets and wanted to try them, but I was too timid. They were exotic and mysterious—from the other side of the produce aisle—and I felt naive and awkward. But when I happened upon these little ones, they were so cute, I couldn't help myself. So I took them back to my place and they said, "Do things to me like you've never done to any other salsa." Ooh. I liked it when tomatillos talked dirty to me. So I slipped into my apron and slowly slipped each one out of its husk (this seemed to go on for hours, and since there were so many, I was feeling kind of promiscuous). And when all that sultry purple skin was revealed, even the oven got turned on. So I roasted those bad boys along with some garlic and onion in olive oil. When we all cooled down, I put them in the food processor with a chile and cilantro. And after my deflowering came the devouring.

One bite, and I knew I wasn't a virgin anymore. I had never felt this way about tomatillo salsa before. With each mouthful, I screamed, "Tom! Oh Tom!" I had expected the tomatillos to be tart, but the caramelization from roasting them brought out their sweetness. It was a complex sweetness with great depth of flavor—not a cheap, easy one full of sweet nothings. This was the richest, most vibrant tomatillo salsa experience of my life. I was infatuated. I wanted it again. So I threw some in the freezer so I'll be able to relive my first time. I hope the second time is just as good.

Recipe

1 ½ lbs tomatillos, husked

1 small onion, peeled and sliced

4 garlic cloves, whole

2 – 3 TBSP olive oil

1 roasted whole green Anaheim chile, skinned and seeded

½ cup cilantro, chopped

1/8 tsp salt (optional)

¼ lime (optional)

Preheat oven to 400º F. On a baking tray, roast tomatillos, onion and garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil for 30 - 40 minutes or until they are soft and caramelized. Roast chile separately on the stovetop or at a higher temperature in the oven (or use a canned whole green chile).

After the roasted vegetables have cooled, put them, along with their juices in a food processor. Add the chile and cilantro. Pulse mixture until well combined but still chunky. Taste for seasonings, and add salt and lime to your liking.

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11 comments:

  1. I have to admit, I've never worked with tomatillos either! I'm definitely intrigued, your salsa sounds pretty fantastic.

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  2. "And after my deflowering came the devouring" KILLing me. So funny. Sexy recipe. Love it.

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  3. You it's never the same after your first. You'll always be pining away for Tom. At least your next suitor has the same name...so who's gonna know? Only you. ;)

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  4. You are so naughty. Did I tell you my mom told me to spank my tomato plants? Apparently, it's a "gardener's secret" to help them self-polinate.

    At my community garden, one of my friends grew some gorgeous dark purple (almost black) tomatillos.

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  5. My tomatillos are usually green and not nearly so sultry!. I meant salty... GREG

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  6. Your crush on "Tom" was quite the shocker this morning. Glad to hear you are getting so heated & happy over a pepper. I have never cooked with these beauties, but now I am convinced I must!

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  7. Gosh- I've made plenty of tomatillo salsa in my day, but it was never this steamy. BTW, also I've never run across a purple one. Do tell.

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  8. too funny! I cant help it , I smile in advance of reading your stuff; never saw purple tomatillos all these years in Tejas; must come from soemwhere else

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  9. This reads like a soap opera script. Days of our Tomatillos. I've never seen purple tomatillos here in Houston. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled.

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  10. Beautiful writing.

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