Party Snacks: Oven-Charred Tomatillo, Tomato and Hot Chile Salsa

22 Aug

If you are lucky enough to get a handful of tomatillos in your CSA share or find them in your grocery store, this recipe for a small amount will make your tastebuds very happy (or scream in agony if you overdo it on the hot peppers) and won’t take you very long at all.

There are very few commercially prepared salsas that I like; most are too sweet or too tomatoe-y or just boring, so making my own makes a lot of sense. Once you see how easy tomatillos are to char, you will probably become adventurous with your own flavor combinations.

Tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica) is indeed in the same family as the tomato, as well as the ground cherry (or cape gooseberry), which it actually resembles more, in looks, if not flavor. Native to Mexico, tomatillo has green or sometimes purple fruit, surrounded by a husk that gets papery as it ripens; it has always reminded me of a Japanese lantern.

When you buy, look for firm fruit with the husk still on (they will keep for a month in a paper bag). When you buy green ones, avoid any that are yellowish.  To prepare them for cooking, remove the husk and wash off the stickiness on the skin.

Although tomatillo is most often used for salsa verde (green sauce), I used purple ones in this recipe. I charred them under the broiler with red tomatoes and mixed them together for a deep and satisfying color.


Roasted Tomatillo, Tomato  and Chile Salsa

7-8 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut in half

Tomatoes of your choice, in an equal amount to the tomatillos, sliced in half (if using cherry-types) or chunked to the same size as the tomatillo halves

1 fresh hot chile pepper of your choice (I use jalapeño)

2 Tbs red onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs cilantro, chopped

1/8 tsp lime juice

1/8-1/4 tsp coarse salt

Place tomatillos, tomatoes and whole chile pepper on a baking sheet and broil, turning once (carefully!) with a spatula when the tops start to char (my sturdy, but not so high-powered toaster oven took 10 minutes on each side {!} but a stronger oven could do the job in half the time, so watch out!)

When the vegetables are charred, let them cool until you can peel them (over a bowl to catch the juices). Discard peels and add tomatillo and tomato to bowl. Also peel the pepper and BE WARNED: this is a small amount of salsa, so you don’t want to go overboard on the heat. I use only half a jalapeño and remove the seeds and it is still pretty searing on the tongue. So…add roasted chile at your discretion/peril.

I break my salsa up with a fork – unnecessary if you are going to use a blender at the end. Stir in remaining ingredients. For a smoother texture, pulse a few times in a food processor or blender (I prefer chunkier and I hate extra equipment to wash, so I skip it). Garnish with cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.

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3 Responses to “Party Snacks: Oven-Charred Tomatillo, Tomato and Hot Chile Salsa”

  1. Svayambhut Ghosh September 8, 2012 at 5:30 am #

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  2. Adriana Waterston August 22, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    This sounds great Natalia! I am going to try this this weekend. And eat it with warmed, not fried, corn tortillas, torn- much better on Weight Watchers than chips.

    I might try a small amount of the adobo part of Chipotle en Adobo for that smokiness,

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pan-Roast Your Way to Flavorful Fat-FreeTomatillo Salsa « Hot, Cheap & Easy - September 2, 2012

    […] husks and very skin stretched tightly over firm flesh. They are in season now (Here’s an oven-roasted charred salsa recipe for variation) and add the slightest of sweet fruitiness to this salsa. Brown ‘em […]

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