Folding back the papery corn husk style wrapping exposes the firm, smallish size, bright green Mexican tomato, called the tomatillo. Green sauce, simmered with some onion and chili peppers, perhaps enhanced with a few spices simmers for spreading inside or outside any number of Mexican, Arizona or Tex Mex style dishes including those flour or corn tortilla based.
The tomatillo, a staple of its earlier origins, Mexico, provides an attractive color with a combined tart, spicy, flavor and a certain fresh flavored complexity mixed between ingredients. Tomatillos may be boiled, simmered, roasted, grilled, and even served raw, though in the United States they are mostly cooked at least briefly, before serving.
Tomatillos mix well in combined flavors with traditional ingredients as chili peppers, onions, lime juice, and fresh cilantro, even scallions, although there are many versions of ingredients and preparations for the baby green Mexican tomato.
Today’s version using tomatillos is of an Apropos style, that is, a similar adaptation with variations of the salsa served at the former Philadelphia restaurant.
Lots of tomatillo salsa recipes first cook the tomatillos by boiling them then wizzing them in a food processor before a bit of simmering with some ready sauteed ingredients such as the onions and chilies before chilling. The chilled tomatillo mixture may be finished off with some fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro and seasoned with salt and pepper for use as a snack with tortilla chips.
Mixing tomatillos together with lots of colorful peppers, including jalapenos, the lime juice and fresh cilantro provides a bright and fresh side sauce for fish, such as today’s salmon, chicken also works well. In this salsa, after blanching the tomatillos in boiling water for a minute before refreshing in ice water we will coarse chop half of the little green tomatoes and wiz the other half before combining both back together in a bowl. The added juice of the fresh orange interestingly balances the tart well with the lime. Leftover tomatillo salsa may also be served as a side snack with tortilla chips, or may add as an extra ingredient in building your own taco or burrito.
Not unlike chili or a complex soup, tomatillo salsa is better the next day as the flavors take on their own unique taste while developing together. Checking for added salt seasoning before serving is a helpful tip in tomatillo salsa preparation and tasting is the best way to reach your desired flavor just a bit at a time.
Tomatillos may be found at most markets, international markets and Mexican grocers. With Cinco de Mayo celebration upon us what better time to appreciate and enjoy some of the colorful flavors of Mexico, such as the little green tomato, the tomatillo. Disfrutar del Plato! Salmon, Tomatillo Salsa, ole!
- 1 pound salmon filet
- kosher salt, a couple pinches to lightly sprinkle across the top piece of salmon
- cracked black pepper, enough to lightly coat the top of the salmon
- 3 tablespoons, grape seed oil
- 12 tomatillos, outer wrapping removed, then blanched in boiling water for 60 seconds, refreshed in ice water
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 small red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 small green pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 small yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 orange, juiced and strained
- 1 1/2 limes, juiced and strained, approximately, more added if desired to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, then seasoning checked before serving by taste testing to desired flavor a bit at a time
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper, more or less to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro, or more to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large sized cast iron or saute pan then add in the grape seed oil. Place salmon filet seasoned with kosher salt and cracked black pepper into the hot pan skin side up. Sear on medium high heat for three to four minutes until salmon has formed a golden browned coloring on top then flip over the filet and cook for another three minutes. Place pan with salmon into the oven and finish cooking to desired doneness for three to five minutes until just done and still moist. Remove salmon from oven and immediately transfer to a platter.
- Remove tomatillos from the ice water and pat dry with a paper towel. Using a sharp chefs knife, coarsely chop half of the tomatillos in small pieces and place into a large glass mixing bowl. Clicking just two or three light pulses, wiz the other half of the tomatillos in a food processor, or mini food processor, working in batches, then combine with the hand chopped tomatillos in the glass bowl. Stir in the diced red onion, the red, green, yellow peppers and jalapenos. Pour in the orange and lime juices, stir, then add in the olive oil and stir again. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper and add in the fresh chopped cilantro. Taste and check seasoning adding more salt, pepper, lime juice, or cilantro as desired.
- When ready to serve slice cooked salmon in four even sized slices. Top each filet piece with a spoonful of tomatillo salsa serving extra in a side bowl.
- Extra tomatillo salsa may be used on chicken breast slices, served as a snack with chips, or as an added ingredient for tacos or burritos