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A FRESH Point of View: You Say Tomato, I Say Tomatillo

In the FRESH produce department, we work with many suppliers to bring in the freshest and most unique produce available.  From farmers down the street to organic and specialty suppliers, our department looks for those that will deliver on our primary promise to our guests.  That promise is that FRESH will offer the most diverse and delicious selection of fruits and vegetables found anywhere in East Texas.

One of our primary specialty vendors, Melissa’s, often supplies one of my favorites – the tomatillo.  Since the tomatillo is April’s veggie of the month, I thought I would share some information about this unique fruit.

The word tomatillo is Spanish for small tomato; however, it isn’t a tomato at all.  It is a member of the nightshade family along with Cape gooseberries.  They are enclosed in a husk that is paper-like and light brown.  In order to prepare them, one must peel of the husks and rinse or wipe off their sticky coating.

Raw tomatillos have texture similar to a kiwi.  They can be eaten raw in a salad or salsa but are more commonly grilled, roasted or blanched and made into Salsa Verde.  You can buy packaged Tomatillo Sauce from Melissa’s in our cut fruitdepartment (and add your own ingredients to customize your salsa) or experiment with tomatillos using this recipe from “Melissa’s Great Book of Produce”, written by Cathy Thomas.

Salsa Verde
7 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed, washed and wiped
1 fresh jalapeño chile, stem removed
5-6 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
Salt, to taste

Adjust oven rack to 4-5 inches below broiler element. Preheat broiler.  Place tomatillos and chile in single layer on rimmed baking sheet with sides. Broil until blackened in spots and blistered, about 5 minutes.  Turn over and roast other side, 3-4 minutes more, or until blistered and soft.

Cool on baking sheet. Place in blender, including juices. Add cilantro and water. Blend to coarse puree.

Place pureed mixture in nonreactive bowl. Add onion and season with salt to taste.

Yields:  About 1 cup

View this recipe to print or add items to your Shopping List.