Mastering the Art of Cooking Tomatillos

If you want to add a tangy twist to your meals, tomatillos are the perfect ingredient to try out. Tomatillos may not be as popular as their cousin, the tomato, but their unique taste and texture have won them a legion of fans. And the best part? They are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. From tangy salsas to stews and soups, mastering the art of cooking tomatillos can add some exciting flavors to your cooking repertoire. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this amazing ingredient and share some delicious tomatillo recipes that you can try at home.

Mastering the Art of Cooking Tomatillos | Eat Urban Garden
Mastering the Art of Cooking Tomatillos

What Are Tomatillos?

Tomatillos are small, round fruits that are similar in size to a cherry tomato. They have a paper-like husk that surrounds the fruit and protects it from damage and disease. Tomatillos are native to Mexico and Central America and are commonly used in Mexican cuisine.

Origins

The tomatillo is a member of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. It is native to Mexico and Central America and has been cultivated for thousands of years. The exact origin of the tomatillo is not known, but it is believed to have been first domesticated in Mexico.

Characteristics

  • Tomatillos are round and about the size of a cherry tomato.
  • They have a thin, paper-like husk that covers the fruit.
  • The fruit can be yellow, green, or purple.
  • The flesh of the tomatillo is firm, and the taste is slightly sour and sweet.
  • The seeds of the tomatillo are small and edible but can be slightly bitter.

Choosing and Storing Tomatillos

If you’re looking to make salsa verde or add a zing to your dishes, tomatillos are a great choice. They have a tart and slightly sweet flavor, bringing a unique taste to any recipe. But how do you choose and store these little green globes?

Choosing Tomatillos

Start by picking tomatillos that are firm, glossy, and bright green with no bruises or blemishes. Avoid tomatillos that are pale or yellowish, have dry or shriveled husks, or have black spots, as they may be overripe or moldy.

  • Look for ones with the husk tightly wrapped around the fruit.
  • Avoid tomatillos with sticky or dried-out husks.
  • Choose tomatillos that are heavy for their size, as they tend to be juicier and fuller.

Storing Tomatillos

Tomatillos have a long shelf life and can stay fresh for up to two weeks if stored correctly. After purchasing, remove the husks and rinse the fruit in cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Dry them with a paper towel and store them in a sealed container or plastic bag in the refrigerator. You can also freeze tomatillos for later use or if you have a surplus.

  • If storing in the refrigerator, they can last up to two weeks.
  • Freeze tomatillos in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to six months.
  • Make sure to remove any air from the container before storing as it may affect the quality of the fruit.

With these simple steps, you can confidently choose and store tomatillos to elevate your cooking game. Remember to always select ripe and fresh tomatillos for best results.

Health Benefits of Tomatillos

Tomatillos, also known as husk tomatoes, are small, round fruits that are wrapped in a paper-like husk. These fruits are commonly found in Mexican cuisine and are used to make dishes like salsa verde and enchiladas.

Nutritional Value

Tomatillos are low in calories and high in nutrients. A half-cup serving (92g) of tomatillos contains:

  • Calories: 20
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Fiber: 1.5g
  • Vitamin C: 20% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin K: 10% of the DV
  • Potassium: 4% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 2% of the DV
  • Copper: 2% of the DV

Health Benefits

The high vitamin C content in tomatillos is important for immune system function, skin health, and wound healing. Tomatillos also contain antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation in the body and lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Additionally, tomatillos contain soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar levels.

Tip: To get the most health benefits from tomatillos, choose fresh ones that are bright green and firm, without any signs of mold or soft spots.

Uses of Tomatillos in Cooking

Tomatillos are a staple in Mexican cooking and are gaining popularity in other cuisines as well. These green, husked fruits have a slightly tart flavor that adds a unique twist to any dish. Here are some of the ways tomatillos can be used in cooking:

Classic Mexican Dishes

Salsa verde is probably the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Mexican dishes that feature tomatillos. This sauce is made by blending tomatillos with other ingredients such as onion, garlic, chili peppers, and cilantro. It can be used as a dip for chips or as a flavorful topping for your favorite Mexican dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, and tamales.

Tomatillos are also used in traditional Mexican stews and soups. For example, pozole is a hearty stew that is made with meat, hominy, and a flavorful broth made with tomatillos. Tomatillos can also be roasted and blended into a sauce that is used to braise meats such as pork shoulder or beef brisket.

Substitute for Tomatoes

If you’re looking to switch up the flavor of your favorite tomato-based recipes, tomatillos are a great substitute. They have a similar texture to tomatoes but bring a unique tartness that can add depth to your dishes. Use them in salads, soups, and stews in place of tomatoes. They also work well in pasta sauces and pizzas.

Tomatillo Salsa Variations

Tomatillo salsa doesn’t have to be the same every time. Mix it up by adding in different ingredients to create a whole new taste. Adding avocado or mango to the salsa gives it an extra burst of flavor. Roasting the tomatillos before blending them adds a smoky flavor to the salsa. Play with different spices as well, like adding some cumin or oregano to give it a new twist.

Glazes and Dressings

Tomatillos can also be used to make glazes and dressings for meats and salads. Combine them with honey to create a sweet and tangy glaze for pork chops or chicken. Dress up your salad by adding an emulsified tomatillo vinaigrette. The tartness of the tomatillos can cut through the richness in dressings or glazes, adding a distinct flavor.

Preparing Tomatillos for Cooking

Tomatillos may look similar to tomatoes, but they have a papery outer layer that needs to be removed before cooking. In this section, we will guide you on how to prepare tomatillos in simple steps to make them ready for cooking.

Step 1: Selecting Tomatillos

The first step to cooking tomatillos is selecting the right ones. Look for tomatillos with firm, pale-green fruit inside a papery husk. The husk should be dry and intact, with no brown spots or discoloration.

Step 2: Removing the Husks

Remove the husks from the tomatillos by gently pulling them away from the fruit. If you have trouble removing the husks, you can cut the stem end off the tomatillo, which will help loosen the husk. After removing the husks, wash the tomatillos under cool running water to remove any stickiness.

Step 3: Preparing Tomatillos for Salsa

If you plan to use tomatillos in salsa, the next step is to prepare them. Start by cutting the tomatillos in half and removing the stem. Then, place the tomatillos in a blender or food processor, along with any other ingredients you plan to use, such as onions, garlic, jalapenos, and cilantro. Pulse until the desired texture is achieved.

Step 4: Preparing Tomatillos for Roasting

Roasting tomatillos adds a smoky depth to their flavor. To roast tomatillos, preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the tomatillos, and any other ingredients desired, on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then bake for 15-20 minutes or until they are soft and slightly charred. Remove from the oven and let cool before using.

Step 5: Preparing Tomatillos for Freezing

If you have an abundant supply of tomatillos, you may want to freeze them for later use. Start by rinsing and peeling each tomatillo. Cut them into quarters, and place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and let it freeze overnight. After freezing, store the tomatillos in a freezer-safe bag. When ready to use, thaw the tomatillos completely before cooking them.

Cooking Techniques for Tomatillos

Tomatillos are a staple in Mexican cuisine and can be prepared in many different ways. Here are some of the best cooking techniques for tomatillos and a few tips for creating the perfect salsa verde:

Roasting Tomatillos

Roasting tomatillos gives them a smoky, caramelized flavor that is perfect for salsas and sauces. Here’s how to roast tomatillos:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse them under cold water
  • Cut the tomatillos in half and place them cut-side down on a baking sheet
  • Roast the tomatillos in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are soft and lightly browned
  • Remove the tomatillos from the oven and let them cool before using them in your recipe

Boiling Tomatillos

Boiling tomatillos is a quick and easy way to cook them and is perfect for making a simple salsa verde:

  1. Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse them under cold water
  2. Place the tomatillos in a saucepan and add enough water to cover them
  3. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low
  4. Simmer the tomatillos for 10-15 minutes or until they are soft
  5. Remove the tomatillos from the heat and drain them
  6. Let the tomatillos cool before using them in your recipe

Frying Tomatillos

Frying tomatillos is a delicious way to cook them and is perfect for making chiles rellenos or fried tomatillo chips:

  1. Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse them under cold water
  2. Cut the tomatillos into wedges or slices
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan
  4. Add the tomatillos to the skillet and fry them for 3-5 minutes or until they are golden brown
  5. Use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatillos from the skillet and place them on a paper towel to drain
  6. Serve the fried tomatillos immediately while they are still hot and crispy

Tip: Adding a pinch of salt and sugar to your tomatillo salsa will help balance out the tartness of the tomatillos and give the salsa a more complex flavor.

Thank You for Reading!

We hope this guide has helped you in mastering the art of cooking tomatillos! Whether you’re making a tangy salsa or adding them to your favorite dish, these versatile fruits are sure to elevate any recipe. Remember to always choose tomatillos that are firm and bright green in color for the best taste. Don’t forget to visit us again for more cooking tips and tricks!

Mastering the Art of Cooking Tomatillos

Learn how to cook tomatillos through this complete guide, from buying to cooking it, and some delicious recipes!

  • 1 pound tomatillos (husked and rinsed)
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 jalapeño (seeded and diced)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut the tomatillos in half and place them on a baking sheet cut side down. Roast the tomatillos for 10-15 minutes or until tender.
  3. In a blender or food processor, combine the roasted tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice. Pulse until everything is well combined but still slightly chunky. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve the tomatillo salsa with tortilla chips or use it as a topping for your favorite dishes.
Main Course
Mexican
tomatillos, cooking, recipe, salsa, sauce

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