I have wanted to try tomatillos for quite some time now but wasn’t able to source it anywhere, so I decided to grow my own. I had to grow the plants from seeds which I ordered online as I couldn’t even buy seedlings from the local nursery. I have a small garden strip, if you can even call it that and space is very limited as I can never decide what to plant first so always end up with a little bit of a lot of things, which is always too much for the tiny garden. I grew the seedlings then planted them in the garden but they seemed to struggle for a long time. All my plants were competing for space and the hops I had planted seemed to be taking over everything else, so some of my plants struggled. Once I pulled the hops out the tomatillos seemed to have a growth spurt! Anyhow, this is my first crop of tomatillos and I decided to make salsa and see what all the fuss was about.
500g tomatillos (larger ones halved)
4 rio teardrop chilies
2 small onions (quartered)
4 garlic cloves
1/2 bunch cilantro/coriander (chopped)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
apple cider vinegar
Note – you don’t have to use the same amounts of chilies, just adjust the amount and the type depending on how many tomatillos you have and how hot you like your food.
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. If you don’t have a grill, don’t panic they can be roasted, just keep on eye on them as it doesn’t take very long at all.
Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and place them in a bowl of apple cider vinegar to remove the natural sticky film on the outside of the tomatillos. Give them a bit of a swish around and wipe the outsides to clean them up.
Quarter the onions and halve the larger tomatillos, add in the garlic and whole chilies. place them in a bowl, sprinkle salt and pepper, drizzle olive oil and toss it all to combine.
Place the tossed ingredients on a large oven tray lined with baking paper. Make sure everything is spread out in a single layer to grill them as evenly as possible.
Place the tray under the grill for 7-10 minutes, or until slightly blackened. You will notice that the skins will start to char and blister. Watch them carefully at this point as they can go from almost done to burnt quite quickly. Remove everything from the tray except the chilies. Put the chilies back under to char further for another 5-1o minutes. You can flip them over from time to time to try and get the skin on all sides to blister (this will make it easier to remove the skins later). Set everything aside to cool.
Once the chilies have developed a char on all sides, remove them from the grill and place in a glass bowl. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave it to cool. This will further make it easier to remove the skins as they will essentially sweat off. Leave the bowl for about 30 minutes, or longer if you have the time.
If you’re not really into super hot food you can remove the seeds for a more mild salsa; if you’re in team ‘the spicier the better’ just throw everything into a food processor or blender. Add the cilantro (coriander) as well as all the other ingredients and the juice from 2 limes. Pulse the ingredients until the mixture is fairly smooth – or your preferred consistency. Have a taste and see what you think. At this point you can play around with adding salt, pepper, more lime, olive oil and other spices if you wish to get a flavour that you are happy with. Chill your final mixture in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving – it will taste even better!
It’s pretty simple, but very tasty and you can pretty well modify it with whatever ingredients you want/have. This tastes great straight out of the bowl with some good salty tortilla chips, on tacos, nachos, burritos, fajitas etc. or goes well on the side with a good char grilled steak or roast chicken.
The salsa will keep for up to a week in the fridge in an airtight container.