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Tomatillos


jm chen
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Bought about a pound of tomatillos this weekend on sale. Not quite sure what to do with them. I have a bunch of leftover roast pork, so I was thinking maybe a green chili? A pozole-type thing?

Not interested in guacamole, which is the only thing I found in a board search.

Suggestions?

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Suggestions?

Enchiladas Suizas--which are chicken enchiladas with tomatillo sauce, cheese and sour cream on top. My favorite easy-peasy thing to do with leftover Costco rotisserie chicken.

Quarter the tomatillos and chunk up an onion and a clove of garlic. If you have a fresh poblano chile, seed and chop and add it now. If you are using canned green chiles, wait until the next step. Cover the veggies with a can of chicken broth and some water to make approx. two cups of liquid. Simmer until tomatillos and onions are soft. Puree in blender (in batches if needed) with a little bit of salt and a big handful of cilantro (stems are ok if you have a good strong blender). I add a seeded jalapeno if the poblano was not spicy enough and if using canned green chile, this is the time to add a small can's worth. Return the puree to the sauce pan and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add some water if it is too thick, turn up the heat and reduce if it seems too thin. Adjust the salt to taste when consistency of sauce seems about right.

Shred or cube some cooked chicken meat. Dip a corn tortilla briefly in the hot tomatillo sauce to soften and fill and roll the tortillas. (I assemble the enchiladas directly onto the dinner plates, but they can be placed in a serving casserole). Ladle some of the sauce over the enchiladas, sprinkle generously with a mild cheese (jack, cheddar, queso fresco-type) and bake in 350 oven for about seven or eight minutes, until cheese has melted and chicken has warmed through. Spoon some more tomatillo sauce on, if needed and add a spoonful of crema Mexicana, sour cream or creme fraiche on top. Serve with pico de gallo, refried beans and rice, on the side as desired.

I also make cheese enchiladas for my veggie daughter like this, and my husband always asks for "one chicken-one cheese" for his plate. Always a popular meal at Chez Zora.

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Green salsa - along with the tomatillos, throw in the usual stuff - onion, jalapenos, maybe a little garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and some avocado. Blend to the desired consistency.... Yum!

Also, here are a few ideas from the CSA I belonged to in the past.

Tomatillo Cold Salad

from Mica Scalin

4c cooked French lentils

1 med. bell pepper

2 cloves fresh garlic

5-6 various sized tomatillios

1 jalepeno

3T balsamic vinegar

2t soy sauce (or bragg's liquid aminos)

also

some of whatever fresh herbs Leigh brings you

(i.e:thymerosemary, dill )

Summer Harvest Bake

You can vary the amount of veggies below. I am only giving approximate

numbers. Beets, parsnips, turnips or eggplant might also be good additions.

15 new potatoes - cut in half

10 tomatillos - paper removed and cut in half

2 zucchinis or other squash - sliced

2 sweet potatoes - peeled and cut into chunks

5 carrots - cut into chunks

Hot pepper - sliced. only some seeds included.

2 garlic cloves - minced

1 onion - coarsely cut

1/4 cup olive oil (or to taste)

fresh chives

fresh basil

pepper

small can of tomato paste (critical)

Mix everything together in roasting pan. Cook at 400 for about 1 hour 20

minutes. Check and mix veggies every 20 minutes or so. Great as a main

course with salad and bread.

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Ooh, that lentil salad sounds tasty. I ended up making a quick salsa with mine -- roasted them in the oven and then gave them a whirl in the food processor with garlic and jalapeno. A few dashes of hot sauce and a sprinkle of salt. Excellent on pork tacos. Next time they're on sale I'll try your recipe, Zora.

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What's the difference in taste between Zora's cooked sauce and golden's regular salsa? Zora, can I use your version as a regular salsa?

There is a significant difference in flavor between a cooked and raw salsa. Raw salsa tomatillo is tart and "green" tasting, and is excellent as a table salsa to dip chips in or spoon onto tacos--the flavors are more pungent because the onion is raw as is the cilantro. A cooked tomatillo salsa, where the tomatillos are roasted or stewed, is mellower--the acidic nature of the tomatillo is tamed somewhat, especially if the salsa is cooked with some chicken broth. The onions are cooked, the garlic and cilantro are cooked. Different texture--raw salsa is chunky, cooked salsa is pureed.

As far as using cooked salsa as "regular" salsa goes-- I presume you mean to use as a table salsa, with chips or on tacos. Sure, why not? I just don't like dipping chips into warm salsa.

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I was also just reading last night in Rick Bayless' Mexico - One Plate at a Time that the natural pectin in the tomatillos will thicken and smooth out sauces when cooked. He has a great looking recipe for a tomatillo braised pork in there that I am tempted to try despite the temperature.

It's not like I'm going to get farmer's market tomatillos when it is 20 degrees in February like I have waiting in my kitchen at home.

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I ended up making a simple salsa with garlic, jalapenos and cilantro. I like my salsas smooth so I pureed everything in the blender. You're right Zora, it has a really fresh, "green" flavor and a brilliant color. Much better than the salsa verdes I have encountered in local restaurants or bought. Between finding the tomatillos and Shoe Box I don't feel guilty using the gas it took to get to Arlington on Saturday.

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Wonderful timing here, since I happen to have a fair number of tomatillos on hand, along with some onions and cilantro, and a few pounds of leftover roast pork. I suspect this will become a fairly large amount of salsa for two people. Can we expect a longer shelf life with either the raw or cooked versions? Is either approach suitable to freezing (I've never tried canning, and this just isn't looking like a good week to start)?

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I use a version of the Tomatillo-Braised Pork Loin outlined in Bayless' Salsas That Cook. I highly recommend this book (as well as the rest of his books), all of the recipes I've tried from there have been great. I tend to make a big batch of his roasted tomatillo salsa (roasted tomatillos, white onion, garlic and serranos with water, cilantro and salt/sugar added later), use some and freeze the rest. The tomatillo salsa shows little ill effect from the freezing, although his roasted tomato/jalopeno salsa tends to separate. I must say, the roasted tomato jalopeno salsa is my go-to party salsa as everyone loves it. :)

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Wonderful timing here, since I happen to have a fair number of tomatillos on hand, along with some onions and cilantro, and a few pounds of leftover roast pork. I suspect this will become a fairly large amount of salsa for two people. Can we expect a longer shelf life with either the raw or cooked versions? Is either approach suitable to freezing (I've never tried canning, and this just isn't looking like a good week to start)?

Cooked salsa definitely has a longer shelf life. Raw salsas start tasting very tired by day 3, in my experience. As far as freezing goes, I would say cooked is fine. Raw? I'm not liking the texture of it after it's thawed.

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Refrigerate. They are not tomatoes. I believe they are related to gooseberries.

Tomatillo and tomato are in the same family, Solanaceae (deadly nightshade), along with potato, capsicum pepper, and eggplant.

This proves nothing other than that I'm a taxonomy geek.

I was about to discourse on the taxonomy of gooseberry, but a quick check shows that there are several different fruits going by that name; one of them is indeed in the same genus (Physalis) as the tomatillo. Others are of the genus Ribes, in the family Grossulariaceae. Just goes to show how useless common names are.

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Tomatillo and tomato are in the same family, Solanaceae (deadly nightshade), along with potato, capsicum pepper, and eggplant.

This proves nothing other than that I'm a taxonomy geek.

I was about to discourse on the taxonomy of gooseberry, but a quick check shows that there are several different fruits going by that name; one of them is indeed in the same genus (Physalis) as the tomatillo. Others are of the genus Ribes, in the family Grossulariaceae. Just goes to show how useless common names are.

Just goes to show that you can't generalize by family whether or not to refrigerate. But you can always count on a geek with a computer and a little bit of time to trump a former gardener with a sketchy memory :) ...

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i made something similiar to a chilaquiles the other night. . .basically, make a tomatillo salsa, rip up some corn tortillas or corn chips, and cook it over the stove. i then used it as a sauce for some pork chops i pan-fried. tasted like a pork chop enchilada. the traditional recipe for chilaquiles calls for queso fresca or feta, but i didn't use it, but. . i would think it would taste just as good with it.

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Is buying fresh tomatillos in February like buying fresh tomatoes in February?

I have an excess of spinach and some mushrooms, tortillas, et al., and I am thinking of making enchiladas. Wonder if I should make or buy a salsa verde.

Recently I noticed Frontiera no longer bottles the great variety they used to produce, or at least, all I could find were hot, medium and mild. Despite the dumbing-down marketing strategy, the options still seemed good, but there was no green sauce.

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Is buying fresh tomatillos in February like buying fresh tomatoes in February?
I've bought them at this time of year in the past and not had a problem. I was in a store recently that had a large supply that looked good, but I forget where it was :P.
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Is buying fresh tomatillos in February like buying fresh tomatoes in February?

Tomatillos are distantly related to regular tomatoes. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomatillo)

I'm pretty sure that most of the tomatillos we get here are grown in Florida and California--though some may come from Mexico in deep winter. I haven't noticed any difference in the quality at different times of year. The most significant factor seems to be how long they have been sitting in the bin at the store. Always peel back the husk to look for firm smooth skin and bright green color. Avoid any that are wrinkled, mushy or yellowish.

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