Tomatillo: A Growing Guide

Learn how to grow these amazing husked vegetables—and how to make a tasty green salsa.

Photography by Rob Cardillo

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tomatillo is an<br />
essential ingredient in green salsaTomatillo Temptations
Garden-fresh tomatillos add zest and unique flavor to hot sauces, salsas, and dips. Break out your favorite Mexican cookbook and try some new recipes, or use these ideas as inspiration:

Guacamole lite.
Make a lower-calorie guacamole by replacing half the avocado with chopped raw tomatillos.

Smoky salsa verde.
Roast a large unpeeled onion, 5 unpeeled garlic cloves, 2 to 5 chile peppers (such as Serrano, poblano, or Anaheim), and 1 pound tomatillos on a charcoal grill or in a heavy, ungreased skillet on top of the stove until charred and soft. Peel the onion, garlic, and peppers and cut into chunks. Pulse all ingredients briefly in a food processor along with sea salt, a handful of cilantro, and a generous squirt of fresh lime juice. Serve with chips or use to smother cheese enchiladas.

Crisp fried tomatillos.
Halve the fruits. Beat an egg with a half cup of milk. Prepare a shallow bowl of seasoned flour and another of cornmeal. Toss the fruits first in flour, then in the egg mixture, then roll in cornmeal. Fry in olive oil in a nonstick skillet until crisp and golden.

Green rice.
Puree 2½ cups raw tomatillos with the leaves of 10 sprigs of cilantro. Measure 2 cups of this puree. In a medium saucepan, sauté a finely chopped small onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft. Add 1 cup rice and cook, stirring, 5 minutes longer. Add the puree and 1 teaspoon salt, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook 20 to 30 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.

Terrific trio: Tomatillos, cilantro, and onion are a classic salsa combo.

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