Here in the Pacific Northwest we’re having some awesome growing weather. Bumper crops of blackberries, blueberries, peppers, tomatoes — you name it. A very wet cool spring followed by sun, sun, sun. Urban farming has been good — so has wild harvesting: plums, apples, apricots, hawthorne berries. But the wild harvesting will be another post. Today we’re going to talk about this year’s experiment plant at Thrasher Studios: Tomatillos.
Tomatillos are a staple in southwest cooking, especially Mexican dishes. It’s kind of like a green tomato in a husk (think corn). We love some southwest food in our house, so it seemed a no brainer to try to grow this. I will grow it again.
Know that honey bees love tomatillos. I have photo proof. Never have I gone out once the tomatillo plant started flowering and NOT seen honey bees. It’s been fabulous. So, they are good to have near anything you’re growing. Also know that they need lots of space and will likely grow taller than your tomatoes. Staking and caging is advised as well.
Harvesting tomatillos created a learning curve, too. But mostly, when the fruit inside fills the husk and it plucks off with little resistance, you’ve got a ripe one. Anyone else that has more experience with knowing about tomatillos — feel free to comment and let us all know.
Today’s harvest creation is grilled tomatillo salsa.
Ingredients: Tomatillos, tomatoes, green chilis (if you want it more mild, seed it. We’re spicy-hot loving family, so I left the seeds in.), onion, garlic cloves, lime juice, cilantro and salt.
Grilled Tomatillo Salsa: Again, this is not chemistry. Use the proportions you prefer.
1. Husk and wash some tomatillos.
2. Put tomatillos, seeded green chilis, a couple cloves of garlic, and some big chunks of onion on a baking sheet or in a big shallow baking dish.
3. Broil for about 5 minutes, turn the stuff over and broil some more. The ingredients should start to brown and get soft.
4. Dump the broiled stuff into a food processor with some fresh cilantro, salt, and lime juice. (I just got a juicer, so I used it to make my lime juice. The juicer rocked and was so worth the $2 at the yard sale.)
5. Run the processor until it’s as smooth or chunky as you want.
6. Chill it if you want to. (After it’s first made and there’s leftovers, I refrigerate in a Ball jar.)
7. Add salt if you want to. (I do.)
In this first recipe, I didn’t have any cilantro. It had already gone to seed and it was already after dinner and I didn’t feel like going to the farmer’s market. So, I snipped some fresh parsley from the garden. Also, I already had some roasted chopped garlic and used that. All but the chunk of onion was from my garden — and the onion was from a local farmer nearby. Woot for local food!
Here’s what the yumminess looked like step by step: