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, fresh citrus 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 then 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
- coarse kosher salt, a couple pinches to lightly sprinkle over salmon
- cracked black pepper, enough to lightly coat the top of the salmon
- 3 tablespoons, grape seed oil
- For the Tomatillo Salsa:
- 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, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- Preparing the Tomatillo Salsa: Pat tomatillos dry with paper toweling, remove top core. Using a sharp chefs knife, coarsely chop half of the tomatillos into small pieces and place into a large glass mixing bowl
- In the bowl of a food processor pulse the other half of the tomatillos in a food processor to a light sauce consistency, add to the chopped tomatillos in the glass bowl
- Stir in the diced red onion, the red, green, yellow peppers and jalapenos
- Pour in the orange juice, lime juice, and olive oil, stir through
- Sprinkle in the salt and pepper, check seasoning, adjust according to taste
- Stir in the fresh chopped cilantro
- Preparing the Salmon: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Season salmon with salt and pepper
- Heat a large sized cast iron skillet or saute pan, add in the grape seed oil
- Set salmon into the hot pan skin side up. Sear on medium high heat for three to four minutes until salmon has formed a golden browned crust, flip over the filet and cook for another three minutes. Turn off heat, place salmon into the oven and finish cooking, three to five minutes until just done and still moist. Remove from oven and immediately transfer to a platter
- The Assembly: When ready to serve, slice cooked salmon into 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