Friday, February 10, 2012

Tomatillo


Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Tomatillos:  The tomatillo fruit is surrounded by an inedible, paper-like husk formed from the calyx. As the fruit matures, it fills the husk and can split it open by harvest. The husk turns brown, and the fruit can be any of a number of colors when ripe, including yellow, red, green, or even purple. Tomatillos are the key ingredient in fresh and cooked Latin American green sauces. The freshness and greenness of the husk are quality criteria. Fruit should be firm and bright green, as the green color and tart flavour are the main culinary contributions of the fruit. Purple and red-ripening cultivars often have a slight sweetness, unlike the green- and yellow-ripening cultivars, and are therefore somewhat more suitable for fruit-like uses like jams and preserves. Like their close relatives cape gooseberries, tomatillos have a high pectin content.

Ripe tomatillos will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks. They will keep even longer if the husks are removed and the fruits are placed in sealed plastic bags stored in the refrigerator. They may also be frozen whole or sliced.

We love the recipes and hints provided by Mariquita Farm in California on how to creatively use TOMATILLOS. 

Tomatillo Chicken Stew
One of our Radical Roots Farm Share members gave us this delicious sounding recipe for Tomatillo Chicken Stew. She said her teenage daughter liked it so much she bought 6 pounds of tomatillos to freeze for the winter! Did you know you can freeze tomatillos? Simple -just pop them into freezer bags and stick in the freezer. Simple!


Tomatillo Sauce
  • 1 1/2 lbs tomatillos
  • 1-2 jalapeƱo chile peppers, or 2-3 serrano chili peppers (include the seeds if you want the heat, remove them if you don't want the heat), stems discarded, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp lime (or lemon) juice
  • Pinch of sugar 
Stew
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups tomatillo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed chopped cilantro (about one bunch, rinsed and chopped, stems and leaves)
1 Make the tomatillo sauce. Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse well. Cut the tomatillos in half and place them cut-side down on an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan. Broil for 5-7 minutes until blackened in spots. Let cool enough to handle. Place the tomatillos, any juice they have released, chile peppers, garlic, salt, lime juice and sugar in a blender, and pulse until well blended. If you make ahead, refrigerate until needed.

2 Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot on medium high heat until almost smoking. Pat dry the cubed chicken parts with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, and adding more olive oil when necessary, brown the chicken pieces on two sides. When you place the pieces in the pan, make sure there is room between them (otherwise they will steam and not brown), and don't move them until they are browned on one side. Then use tongs or a metal spatula to turn them over and don't move them again until they are browned on the other side. Do not cook through, but only brown. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and lower the heat to medium. There should be a nice layer of browned bits (fond) at the bottom of the pan.
3 Add the onions to the pan, and a tablespoon or two more olive oil if needed (likely). Add ground cumin and coriander. Cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are softened and the browned bits from the chicken have been picked up by the onions and are no longer sticking to the pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more, until fragrant.

4 Add the browned chicken, the tomatillo sauce, chicken stock, and oregano to the pan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Add the cilantro to the stew in the last minute or so of cooking.
Serve over white rice, accompanied with sour cream if needed to offset the heat from the chiles. The stew will thicken as it cools.
Serves 4.


Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

Chef Rick Bayless

INGREDIENTS
8 ounces (3 to 4 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed 
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (1 or 2 serranos or 1 jalapenos), stemmed
2 large garlic cloves, peeled 
6 sprigs of fresh cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off), roughly chopped
1/4 small white onion, finely chopped
Salt

DIRECTIONS
Roast the tomatillos, chile(s) and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, until blotchy black and softening (they’ll be turning from lime green to olive), about 5 minutes.  Flip them over and roast the other side.  Cool, then transfer everything to a blender, including all the delicious juice the tomatillos have exuded during roasting. Add the cilantro and 1/4 cup water, then blend to a coarse puree. Scoop into a serving dish. Rinse the onion under cold water, then shake to remove excess moisture.  Stir into the salsa and season with salt, usually 1/2 teaspoon. Makes about 1 cup


Salsa Verde Pizza with Goat Cheese and Bacon (Pizza de Salsa Verde, Queso de Cabra y Tocino)
Chef Rick Bayless

INGREDIENTS
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup room-temperature water 
1/3 cup beer—a light lager is good here
A few tablespoons good-quality olive oil
2/3 cup Roasted Tomatillo Salsa 
 A couple of very thin slices of red onion
4 ounces goat cheese, coarsely crumbled into roughly 1/2-inch pieces
3 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and coarsely crumbled
    OR 4 ounces Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed and cooked thoroughly
2 tablespoons grated Mexican queso anejo, Romano or Parmesan
A handful of cilantro leaves

DIRECTIONS
1. Make the dough.  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, yeast and salt.  Measure in the water and  beer.  Stir to combine everything into a rough-looking mass.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours. 

2. Form, bake and serve the pizza.  Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Generously oil a 13 x 18 rimmed baking sheet (what’s called a “half sheet pan”).  Use a rubber spatula to gently deflate the dough and scrape it out onto the baking sheet.  Gently coax the dough—nudging and tugging—into an even rectangle about 9 by 13 inches.  

Spread on the sauce, leaving a 1-inch border around the outside.  Scatter on the bacon, sliced onion and crumbled goat cheese.  Bake in the middle of the oven until puffy and brown, about 25 minutes.  

Sprinkle with queso anejo and cilantro leaves, cut in squares and carry to your lucky guests.


Here is a very simple Tomatillo Salsa recipe - what could be simpler and more delicious???

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