Before the explosive growth of Mexican and Texmex cuisine, most people north of the Mexican border had never heard of Tomatillos. Now, most have at least heard of them, but few could pick one out of a line up!
Tomatillos look like small green tomatoes (they are in the same family as tomatoes) and come in a loose paper-thin husk or calyx, that opens once the fruit inside is ripe.
The health benefits are different from tomatoes, but still have quite a powerful punch of nutrition. Since tomatillos are green, they do not have the antioxidant Lycopene. However they do have antioxidant phyto-chemicals known as withanolides. Withanolides have been known to help the body fight bacteria and cancers.
While tomatillos have more calories per ounce than tomatoes, they also carry quite a mineral/vitamin bonanza: Copper, iron, phosphorous, manganese, as well as other minerals can be found in tomatillos. Anti-oxidant vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E are all found in tomatillos, as well as flavonoid anti-oxidants such as ß-carotene, zea-xanthin and lutein. These compounds possess antioxidant properties and, together with vitamin A, are essential for visual health.
Once found only in specialty food stores, tomatillos are fast becoming a staple in most supermarket produce aisles.
Tomatillos can be eaten raw, but are best known as the essential ingredient when making green or “verde” sauce for Hispanic dishes.
We found a recipe for Roasted Tomatillo Salsa that would be perfect for the upcoming tailgate season.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa:
Prep Time: 15 minutes plus chilling time
7 medium tomatillos
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
Remove tomatillo husks, rinse under running water then wipe to remove stickiness.
Place tomatillos in a single layer on a baking sheet with sides.
Broil until slightly charred, turning once, about 7-8 minutes.
Cool on baking sheet.
Place tomatillos with juice in blender.
Add remaining ingredients and blend to a chunky pureé.
Chill for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend.
Adjust seasoning if necessary.
The recipe is brought to you courtesy of Produce for Better Health Foundation, MoreMatters.org.
Scott Street Tomato House carries Tomatillos year round. Try fresh tomatillos in your green sauce today!