It’s that time of year, when fruit and vegetables are entering and exiting the kitchen faster than bemused lovers in a French farce. Bags of windfall quinces, cooking apples and boxes of plums are competing for space in the fridge and the green tomatoes (salvaged from the outdoor blighty plants) are attracting fruit flies on the work surface. Pasta sauces, stewed fruit, jams, jellies, pickles and chutneys are being bottled, frozen and consumed in large quantities, so it’s a relief occasionally to make a dish which needs no cooking and for which little chopping is required.
Spice It Up
Some of my favourite ingredients at this time of year are the spicy curry vegetables, fruit and herbs which we use for the Thai, Indian and Mexican dishes which we love. This year’s crop of tomatillos started ripening this week and the first tubful arrived from the allotment accompanied by thechorus – supporting roles being provided by ‘Red Czech’ garlic, ‘Numex Twilight’ chilli, red onions, Vietnamese coriander and tomatoes.
Supporting roles are being played by my chillies, red onions and garlic
The tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica or Physalis ixocarpa) is originally from Mexico. The fruits look similar to green tomatoes (although they can also be purple) and are encased in a papery husk. Unlike cape gooseberries, which I find crop late and produce poor harvests in my garden, tomatillos crop heavily outside, with 2-3 plants providing easily enough fruit for a family. Given space, the stems will bend and trail along the ground, often rooting from the trailing stems, creating even more productive plants. I’ve grown tomatillos for three years and the only issue I’ve encountered was last year when my seeds proved tricky to germinate, but in other years I’ve not had the same problems.
These cherry-sized fruits taste like slightly tart tomatoes, but with a lime tang which gives the flavour added depth. I’ve used them fresh in salsa and guacamole, and a summer glut can easily be halved, frozen and then added to soups or casseroles at the beginning of cooking which gives the final dish a mellow fruity flavour.
This year’s first tomatillo harvest disappeared swiftly into salsa – served with homemade mackerel pate on toast…
Couple of handfuls of tomatillos removed from their casing and washed (don’t remove until you plan to use them as it help to keep the fruits fresh)
Equal amounts of cherry tomatoes
1-3 chillies depending on variety and personal taste, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small red onion, finely chopped
Juice from 1/2 – 1 lime
Handful of Vietnamese coriander (or annual coriander), finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the ingredients together in a blender
Add extra salt, chilli and/or lime juice to taste
Once the salsa is complete, the curtain can rise on a Mexican banquet or it can be enjoyed in my favourite way – with nachos, soured cream and our homegrown pickled chillies for supper with desperados (or in my case, a gluten-free beer like Celia).
Now I’m hungry! Time to make another batch of salsa…
I buy my tomatillo seeds from Suttons (who are also selling tomatillo plants for 2018) and from Real Seeds. I’ve grown purple and green varieties – both crop really well and taste great.
Other ‘plot to plate’ recipes using our garden, allotment and hedgerow harvests include:
Plot to Plate: Courgette Tea Bread
Plot to Plate: Spiced Crab Apple Jelly and Crab Apple Fruit Leathers
Plot to Plate: Apple and Cinnamon Butter
Plot to Plate: Stuffed Summer Squash
It’s worth noting that all parts of these plants, except the fruits, are poisonous.
If you’d like to follow my blog and hear about the next ‘plot to plate’ experiment, you can click below to subscribe. Thanks very much and happy gardening…
16 thoughts on “Plot To Plate: Tomatillo Salsa”
Sounds good, we will have to try growing some tomatillos next year!
Great idea! They are great plants. You can also do this recipe with tomatoes in the meantime….
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This looks delicious, I love salsa. I have not heard of tomatillos before, I will have a look out for them for next year. In the meantime, will try the recipe with some tomatoes!
Hiya, yes it’s a pretty versatile recipe and I love that it takes so little time to put together! Thanks for stopping by – enjoy your salsa 😃
We’ve grown chills in our garden for the first time ever and this sounds really delicious! Thank you for sharing 🙂
Ooooo, how exciting! Have you had a good crop of fruits? I love growing chillies and there are so many tempting varieties available!! 😊
I’ve not heard of tomatillo plants before, they sound intriguing and I wonder if they’re hard to grow? The salsa looks lovely. It’s funny, but both of my kids hate tomatoes, any kind of tomatoes, even the sweet cherry plum tomatoes – but give them salsa and a bag of tortilla chips and they’ll munch away happily. Maybe I should try growing these 🙂
Hiya, yes they’re really easy to grow. Just like tomatoes to start with, but then once they’re in the ground they don’t need feeding, staking or side shooting. Just let them get on with it!! Good luck and hope you enjoy then ☺
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I’ve never tried tomatillos – they sound interesting! I love mexican flavours. Sounds like I could dice them up and add them to my guacamole.
Darn, now I’m hungry!
Oooooo yes they’re great in guacamole and in relish!! 😊
I love tomatillos and this recipe sounds fab. I have no idea how to grow them though but my track record with trying to grow fruit and veg is not very good! Thx for linking up to #GlobalBlogging.
The good news is they are dead easy to grow, mine even self seed each year, so a good way to start growing fruit and veg 😋
I’m done with dinner – and my post-dinner cup of hot tea – but this post has made me hungry again! Looks and sounds fab. Thanks for sharing…
Hi Nicole – sorry to make you peckish! On the plus side, it’d be a very healthy supper!! 😊
Hi Nic, it’s not even 7am and I’ve learned something new already! I’d never heard of a tomatillo before! They do look very much like cape gooseberries in their papery shell. Once I get the hang of gardening the basics, then maybe I’ll take a step in the direction of trying different fruit and veg. Your salsa does sound good!
Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.
Hi Debs – tomatillos before 7am – that’s impressive! Luckily they are one of the easiest crops to grow, so should be a good one to try 😊