Merlot Mudpies

Can a blog be about gardening, cancer, family, food and life all at the same time? Oh good.

Two Salsas and How to Deal with Tomatillos (trust me, they’re worth it) July 9, 2009

This week tomatillos and tomatoes were on sale along with cilantro, avocados, and jalapeños. MAN do I love summer!

So I made up two salsas for dinner last night. I calculated out the cost and I made 10 cups of salsa for less than $5. And let me tell you, homemade salsa just…well…how do I even begin?? It is SO GOOD. I’m not sure about shelf life on these as salsa — even ten cups of it — never lasts more than two or three days around here.

So. Here are two of my standards.

Basic Tomato Salsa
About 10 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
6 or so cloves of garlic
1 small can of diced green chilies with juice
A rough handful of cilantro, rinsed (I use a LOT more than most folks like because we LOVE cilantro)
Juice from 1.5 to 2 limes
1 – 2 jalapeños depending on your heat preference
half a white onion, peeled and chunked
15 – 25 twists of the pepper grinder (trust me)
salt to taste

Just plop all of the ingredients into the blender and pulse until it’s the consistency you like.

Green Tomatillo Salsa
10 tomatillos, husks off and rinsed of oil
1-2 jalapeños
A rough handful of cilantro
Juice from 1.5 to 2 limes
1 avocado
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
salt to taste

Before plopping this all in the blender like the first salsa, I toast the tomatillos a bit and char some of the skin on them. You can do this under a broiler, in a hot pan, or even on the grill. I don’t know why but it just does something wonderful to the flavor of the salsa. If you DO toast them, though, you’ll likely want to chill the salsa before you serve it as the flavors really come together when the salsa is cool.

If you don’t know about how to pick out a tomatillo, here is some help:
Don’t be afraid to tear into a tomatillo husk to take a look at the fruit underneath when you’re picking them out
Look for tomatillos with a nice, even medium green color
Tomatillos don’t have to completely fill out their husk to be ripe — often if they do their already too ripe and sort of beaten up
Tomatillos are weirdly oily/sticky on the outside under the husk — that’s natural and rinses off under warm water
Tomatillos should be about the same firmness of a ripe tomato
Tomatillos are NOT green tomatoes and they have a lovely distinct flavor all their own — if you’ve never had them in salsa, you’re missing out!

(Edit:  Maybe someone can clarify on this for me.  I don’t have enough brain cells to try right now.  Is there a difference between tomatillOs and tomatillAs?  I don’t think there is.  But is one more proper than the other?  Inquiring minds want to know!)


2 Responses to “Two Salsas and How to Deal with Tomatillos (trust me, they’re worth it)”

  1. sabinat Says:

    If you want to make a long lasting tomatillo salsa (which I recommend doing when the ingredients start getting scarce), loose the avocado and lime juice (I add a twist of vinegar for acidity) and boil the sauce until the green is less bright. After that, you should just re-boil after a week, to make sure it stays good (and on, and on). Another saver tip: the hotter you make it, the more it will last.

  2. merlotmudpies Says:

    Hi Sabinat — Thank you for the advice! Can I ask, why does taking out the lime juice add to the life span? I would have expected that the acidity from that would help with life span. Will the flavor change with the boiling or something? How does the boiling affect the flavor in general?

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