Let’s celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the lively taste of tomatillo!
Classic Mexican dishes need the lively taste of tomatillo to roast, grill or simmer into a chile verde sauce or use raw in salsa, guacamole or gazpacho.
Tomatilllo (toh-mah-TEE-yoh) may look a little like its distant cousin the tomato, but they’re miles apart in taste.
The fruits are eaten green, while still firm and have a sweet, but lively lemon-apple-herb taste that’s essential to Mexican and Southwestern cooking.
I grew several tomatillo ‘Toma Verde’ plants last summer and enjoyed the entire process. These plants produce small-size fruit, but there are other varieties that grow bigger or those that ripen to a deep purple.
I started the seeds along with the tomato seeds in spring and transplanted two little plants to my container garden once the weather warmed. But I’ve also seen tomatillo plants on the vegetable tables at local garden centers.
The plants grew quickly and seemed to dwarf the tomatoes that were planted at the same time. Bright yellow flowers appeared quickly, too, and tiny paper husks started to take shape.
These vining plants took about 75 days to mature. I knew they were ready to harvest when the fruit was bright green and their papery husks turned a light brown.
To use in cooking, peel away the husks. Wash the sticky residue from the fruit and then they’re ready to use in all kinds of delicious dishes.
Some were used raw to add a kick to guacamole and others chopped and then sprinkled on top of chilled gazpacho. They were beautiful added to homemade salsa, too.
Do you have a good tomatillo recipe? If so, please share it here.