Open Your Eyes and Tastebuds To The Tomatillo
by Sandra Lewis    Mon, Jul 16, 2007, 01:51 PM
Mexican is the cuisine I crave the most, but cook the least.

I offer no explanation for this contradictory behavior other than I have grown up in and still nest in the middle of Tex-Mex heaven where Mexican restaurants are almost as proliferous as Starbuck’s stores in San Francisco where there’s one on every corner.

But a simple, green, tart, and somewhat mysterious fruit which nature lovingly wraps in a paper-like casing has changed my behavior.

It’s the tomatillo (toe-ma-tea-o), also known as the Mexican tomato, husk tomato, jamberry, or ground cherry.

It’s a cousin to the tomato (yes, the tomato is also botanically a fruit, but declared a vegetable by the Supreme Court in 1893 so it could be taxed) and its name means “little tomato” in Spanish.

You’ve seen it. It’s usually snuggled close to the tomatoes in the grocery store.

You’ve eaten it. It's the primary ingredient in salsa verde.

You’ve probably ignored it.

And so did I until I discovered how effortless it is to make homemade tomatillo sauce (aka salsa verde) and how absolutely delighted my tastebuds were that I did so.

That’s what I’m about: good food that tastes fantastic and is easy to make. It’s not that I’m unwilling to knock myself out in the kitchen. I just like it when I don’t and it tastes like I did.

I serve my tomatillo sauce with chips and salsa, over homemade chicken enchiladas, and fried eggs.

Quick-Cooked Tomatillo-Chile Sauce
1 pound (11 medium) fresh tomatillos, husked and washed; OR two 13-ounce cans tomatillos, drained
2 jalapeno chilies stemmed
5 or 6 sprigs cilantro roughly chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
2 cups any poultry broth
Salt (about 1/2 teaspoon depending on the saltiness of the broth)

1. Boil the fresh tomatillos and chiles in salted water to cover until tender, 10-15 minutes; drain. Simply drain canned tomatillos.
2. Place the tomatillos and chiles in a blender or food processor, along with the coriander, onion, and garlic. Process until smooth, but still retaining a little texture.
3. Heat the lard or vegetable oil in a medium-large skillet set over medium-high. When hot enough to make a drop of the purre sizzle sharply, pour it in all at once and stir constantly for 4 or 5 minutes, until darker and thicker. Add the broth, let return to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thich enough to coat a spoon, about 10 minutes. Season with salt.

Sandra's Cooking Notes:
- From "Authentic Mexican" by Rick Bayless.
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