Summer at the farmer’s market is a rush for foodies like me: everything I like is in season and looks great on the stand. With the onset of colder weather the produce at the farmer’s market still looks good, there is just less to choose from and I feel like I need to get a bit more creative.
Last week, nestled between the cilantro and garlic a few tomatillos caught my eye. Returning home I dug out a recipe inspired by a family friend – Eloisa – from Mexico. The heat of the chiles de arbol – which are pretty commonplace in any supermarket – and the tang of the tomatillos are a powerful duo which together create a wallop of flavor.
If you are seeking tomatillos at your local farmer’s market or store, they look like small green tomatoes encased in a papery shell. Tomatillos are part of the nightshade family whose members are usually poisonous to humans with the exception of some species (tomatoes, potatoes and the rarely seen gooseberry).
Eloisa’s Chile de Arbol and Tomatillo Salsa
- 1 ¾ cup tomatillos
- 5-8 chiles de arbol
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1 – 2 cloves garlic (to taste!)
- ½ cup cilantro
- ½ teaspoon salt (to taste!)
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- Lime juice (from ½ a lime)
Boil the tomatillos until tender (about 10 minutes). Drain. Remove the stems from the chiles. Toast the chiles until they are lightly blackened. Note: be careful as they will burn quickly. Puree with the tomatillos in a food processor or blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend. Season with additional salt and lime.
Cook’s note: chile de arbol in dried form can usually be found in the International section of your grocery store.
If you have a favorite salsa recipe and would like to share it, please post a comment.