Tomatillos Roasted with Red Onions
Mis amigos, as you well know, sometimes, in order to grow, you have to move out of your comfort zone and take some risks. Well, my friends, this applies to the area of preparing and enjoying food, too.
Now please don’t get frightened; I’m not asking you to eat something that you’d never eat (at least I don’t think so!). I’m just asking you to move a little bit out of your comfort zone. And, I promise—really—that you may find something that you might start putting in as a regular player in your cooking repertoire. And this brings me to the topic of today’s post: the tomatillo.
The tomatillo (pronounced toh-mah-TEE-yo)—like its cousin, the tomato—is a plant that belongs to the nightshade family. Also called husk or Mexican tomatoes, tomatillos vary in size and color when ripe. The most common variety—at least as far as what I’ve found in Westchester County—is the cherry-tomato-sized green one. Their color is bright green, and they’re covered with a paper-thin green-beige-ish husk (that you peel off prior to cooking and/or eating). Tomatillos are ubiquitous in Latin American vegetable markets in our area, like Rancho Grande in New Rochelle.
The somewhat citrusy-tart flavor of the tomatillo lends itself to a different ways of using it. Actually, they can be eaten raw or cooked—but you should rinse them prior to enjoying them (they’re covered with a kind of sticky substance). But you don’t need to core—or peel them.
I learned about tomatillos here in New Rochelle from one of my Mexican-raised ESL students. We were discussing fruits and vegetables (not uncommon topics in my English classes!), and Irene—the best guacamole maker in the whole world—suggested I try cooking with tomatillos. I haven’t been the same since!
So here, my friends, I offer you one option, just to get you started! Try roasting your tomatillos in a 400-degree oven, with some red onions, jalapeño, garlic, some olive oil and salt. Once roasted and cooled, purée them with some cilantro, and a bit of honey. Season them with salt as desired. Serve with grilled meat or vegetables—or as a dip for fresh chips. Do let me know how you like ‘em! ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!
Tomatillos before roasting!