It was a great year for growing these - Now what do I do with them?
The unusually hot, dry summer produced tons of tomatillos, hotter peppers, and more recognizable melons in Montana gardens. As an FCS Extension Agent, I received more requests than usual for ideas to better utilize and preserve these items. Being a “You had me at chips and salsa”, kind of person, makes Salsa Verde (green in Spanish), a summertime staple in my kitchen. It’s a perfect way to blend the best of summer into one fresh, flavorful, and easy recipe!
Whether you’ve been fortunate enough to find a local producer with beautiful, large tomatillos or you’ve grown some smaller varieties yourself, they make an excellent salsa when combined with other garden items like peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro. The full- sun loving tomatillo plants (often called husk fruit) can produce green, yellow, or purple fruit depending on the variety. The fully ripened green fruit has a citrusy flavor perfect for mixing with the stronger flavors of garlic and peppers. The husks of the ripened tomatillo should remain attached until the tomatillo is ready for use. Peel the husks away from the ripened fruit prior to use. The underlying sticky surface will require washing with cool water before proceeding with the recipe.
Recipe for 4-5 people, requires 6 medium or 5 large ripe tomatillos.
• 5 tomatillos
• ¼ to ½ cup fresh cilantro
• ¼ c. finely chopped and rinsed onion (roasting the onion brings out a sweeter flavor)
• 1 to 3 medium Jalapenos (or mixture of Poblano, Fresno, and Anaheim chilis) dependent on heat preference
• 2-3 large garlic cloves
Place halved tomatillos on a large baking sheet with peppers (seeds can be removed prior to roasting if preferred), and whole garlic cloves. Toss with about 1-2 T. olive oil. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Place in 450-degree pre-heated oven and stir occasionally until the vegetables begin to take on a charred appearance. Remove from oven and place directly into a food processor bowl or blender. Pulse for a minute or two to blend ingredients. Add fresh cilantro and onion, pulsing once. Add salt to preferred taste. Allow to cool for best flavor. Serve with tortilla chips or as a taco bar item. Salsa can be stored in refrigerator for up to 5 days for optimum flavor and freshness.
Enjoy the taste of summer!