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Salmon, Tomatillo Salsa

Salmon, Tomatillo Salsa

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!

Salmon, Tomatillo Salsa
Serves 4
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  1. 1 pound salmon filet
  2. kosher salt, a couple pinches to lightly sprinkle across the top piece of salmon
  3. cracked black pepper, enough to lightly coat the top of the salmon
  4. 3 tablespoons, grape seed oil
For the Tomatillo Salsa
  1. 12 tomatillos, outer wrapping removed, then blanched in boiling water for 60 seconds, refreshed in ice water
  2. 1 small red onion, diced
  3. 1 small red pepper, seeded and chopped
  4. 1 small green pepper, seeded and chopped
  5. 1 small yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
  6. 2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  7. 1 orange, juiced and strained
  8. 1 1/2 limes, juiced and strained, approximately, more added if desired to taste
  9. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  10. 1 teaspoon kosher salt, then seasoning checked before serving by taste testing to desired flavor a bit at a time
  11. 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper, more or less to taste
  12. 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro, or more to taste
  1. 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.
For the Tomatillo Sauce
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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
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  1. Posted May 2, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    This recipe is perfect for a healthy Cinco de Mayo celebration. Thanks Peggy!
    Stopping by from http://www.Lush-Fab-Glam.com
    Lush-Fab-Glam.com recently posted…Friday Five: Fabulous Cakes For Your Spring And Summer Celebrations.My Profile

    • Posted May 2, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      It really is a healthy Cinco de Mayo celebration recipe, hope you enjoy it! Thanks so much for joining in.

  2. Posted May 3, 2014 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    This is great, Peggy. I have seen tomatillos at the grocery store for years and I have never picked them up, unsure of how best to use them. This is a great introductory recipe that is so versatile, as a salsa/chutney for grilled or broiled meat or fish, or on it’s own with chips. Thank you for sharing!
    Kelly recently posted…Second Anniversary Gift GuideMy Profile

    • Posted May 3, 2014 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Hi Kelly, many people are not sure what to do with a tomatillo, that they are the main ingredient base in creating the green sauce served at Mexican restaurants, or, the green sauce sold in cans and bottles at the market. They are easy to work with and do lend a unique flavor combined with other enhancing ingredients. Hope you enjoy. Thanks for joining in!

  3. Posted May 3, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Cinco de Mayo feast for sure! I eat salmon 4-5 times a week for lunch as we have some great delis here that offer it on their lunch buffets. It’s ok but I’m sure yours is much tastier!
    Phil recently posted…Bondurants – beer, cocktails & whiskey love in my NYC hood!My Profile

    • Posted May 3, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Hi Phil, this is an easy dish to prepare, and then the leftover salsa is so versatile for other uses, definitely a tasty flavor combination with the salmon. Looks like you observe a healthy eating regimen throughout the week, insuring lots of energy for those fun NYC events, next upcoming, a Cinco de Mayo celebration, Ole. Thanks much for joining in.

  4. Posted May 5, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    This looks so good. Bookmarking this for a night when I can actually cook a full meal.
    Jennifer @MOLM recently posted…The Trouble With Menu PlanningMy Profile

    • Posted May 5, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Jenn, a good book mark. This actually would work preparing on a day you don’t have long work hours- and then serve it on the following day when you do- with the simultaneous sports practices. The salmon doesn’t take more than twelve minutes in a pan, and its good with chicken too. Enjoy and thanks for joining in.

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  • Hi, I'm Peggy. Welcome to our Shared Table at Spiced Peach Blog!
    Subscribe here for my fresh, seasonal recipes with an international twist.