Sunday, September 01, 2013
Relish the Thought: Tomatillo Relish/Salsa
Well, whatever it is, I like noshing on it on a hot afternoon, on tortilla chips, on chicken tacos, on bratwurst, or in a salad. It's a little labor-intensive if you don't have a food processor, but it's worth the effort.
And it's a swell way to do something with the spare tomatillos you have in your garden…unless you don't have a kind and obliging gardener like my pop. Under those circumstances, you want to go buy fresh tomatillos from the store. You want to get them while they're firm – if you're unfamiliar with tomatillos, they're also referred to as "husk cherries" or "husk tomatoes". On the vine, they look a little like a tomato wrapped in a papery leaf envelope, but they're actually closer to the gooseberry than to the tomato, and their flavor really shows it. Most tomatillos are strongly citrusy, but not overly juicy, and, when fresh, are on the crisp side.
I'm told they make awesome pickles, but I never seem to be able to make them last long enough to get to the point of pickling. I keep tossing them into my chili, or into this relish.
There are variations to be made, such as leaving the seeds & white pulpy ribs in the peppers to raise the heat, or substituting vinegar for the lime juice and raising the amount of salt, to make it a little more pickly, but, somehow, I came to really appreciate the combination of flavors as they are here.
I suppose this could be canned, as well, if I didn't keep eating it as I chop…
Anyway, as I said, it's simple enough:
Tomatillo Relish (or is it a Salsa?)
8-10 medium tomatillos (about 4 cups), husks removed, washed*, and finely chopped
2 medium jalapeño peppers, white ribs & seeds removed & fruit very finely minced
1/2 medium onion (about 2/3 cups) sweet onion, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (or 3 Tablespoons high-quality dried cilantro)
juice from 1 medium lime (about 2 Tablespoons)
1 teaspoon salt
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, mix well. With a spoon or a small bowl, press down to lightly crush. Stir again. Store in refrigerator. Chill well before serving.
*Tomatillos have a very sticky surface beneath their papery husks. It may take several tries rinsing them, because you want all the stickiness gone.