My neighbor recently told me that it’s going to take longer to build and move into a new house than she and her boyfriend planned. She’s a bit disappointed, and while no one likes to see their friends disappointed, there is a tiny part of me that is selfishly relieved. Our household has been the recipient of her garden overflow for the past five or so years. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, zucchini, winter squash – I love them all and am just too busy (read lazy, unorganized) to grow my own. In my freezer right now is a jar of pesto made with the end of fall basil from her yard, half a giant bush of basil cut just before the first frost. She’s got quite the green thumb and every year she tries new things. This year, it’s tomatillos.
A couple of weeks ago found the two of us staring at the wild growth of tomatillo plants in her raised beds. They were covered in flowers and small ripening fruits enclosed by green husks. Her question: how do I know then they are ripe? My answer: The heck if I know. I
did tell her that I thought they should be a bit larger and the husks more papery, or at least that’s what they look like in the store. Then I forgot all about them until a white paper bag of about 30 showed up on my doorstep Wednesday night. Ripe and ready for salsa.
I love making salsa verde. It’s so easy. It goes well with fish, shrimp, pork and any number of Latin American dishes like chicken enchiladas or tacos (if you are so inclined). I’ve forgotten where this recipe originated, but one of the first times I made it was for friends on a summer trip to Richmond, Virginia as an accompaniment to corn fritters. Its great just scooped up on a corn chip. Make it as spicy or mild as you like it. Tomatillos are tart
on their own, but the lime adds great flavor. Making this still brings me right back to that happy feeling of sharing good food with friends and neighbors.
12 medium tomatillos: remove husks then blanch tomatillos in
boiling water for 2 minutes *
Process them coarsely in a blender or food processor with:
1-3 jalapeno peppers
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro (more or less, sometimes I like more)
1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
1 clove garlic
½ – 1 teaspoon of salt**
*You can lightly char the whole peeled tomatillos on the grill for a smokey fire roasted salsa verde as well.
**As a great cook once told me, “salt and lime fight each other” in a dish and can negate one another when not in balance. You should taste the salsa to see if it has the right combination of savory and tart before adding more salt or more lime.