Valley Bounty: Tomatillos

Tomatillos, despite their name, are not actually a type of tomato; both are members of the Solanaceae family (often referred to as “nightshades”), but in botanical terms, tomatillos are more closely related to groundcherries and Cape gooseberries, all of which are members of the genus Physalis and share a trademark dry, papery husk loosely surrounding the flesh of their fruits. Tomatillos have a long history in Mexican and Central American cuisine, and they serve as the base of the Mexican salsa verde, which is likely the tomatillo preparation most familiar to eaters from other cultures.

Though it will slightly alter the otherwise bright green color, roasting tomatillos for salsa verde adds a nice additional flavor element over simmering them. Broil peeled tomatillos on a baking sheet for five to seven minutes, until they just start to blacken, then flip them over and repeat for the other side. After letting them cool, combine with peppers for heat (I like two medium jalapeños for about three pounds of tomatillos), one medium onion, two garlic cloves, a handful of chopped cilantro, and a pinch of salt—chop and mix it all by hand for chunkier salsa, or combine in a food processor for a more even consistency.

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)