Since the weather has gotten cold I’ve pretty much given up on my remaining outdoor vegetables. The tomato vines have wilted, I pulled out the runner beans, and the last few zucchini are melting into the ground. The tomatillo plants continued to fruit despite everything, although I was feeling a bit burned out on actually eating them. I decided to pick all the remaining fruits a few weeks ago and keep them in a bowl on the counter, just for decor. I adore the texture of these tomatillos, and the mix of jewel tones as some turn purple and others remain brilliant green.
Yesterday I finally threw them into the compost, but took one last picture in the soft afternoon light. I had just finished weaving a teal wool scarf for the upcoming Rexville art show, so I used that as a color backdrop for the tomatillos. I like the resulting contrast.
Someday I’m going to find a spot in my tiny yard to grow tomatillos. A big, gangly, tangled green jungle so we can have as much green salsa as we could possibly want. In the meantime, we just keep buying big bags of them at the farmer’s market – at least until the farmers run out.
When I first discovered tomatillos, I was annoyed at their stickiness and not really sure what to do with them. Now I rather enjoy the process of peeling off the papery husks and rinsing off the gummy coating. Like shelling beans, it can be a contemplative activity. And if you do a few extra pounds while you’re at it, you can toss the cleaned tomatillos into a bag and put them in the freezer for later.
And as for what to do with them, my favorite recipe (so far) is Rick Bayless’ Roasted Tomatillo & Serrano Salsa, from his book Mexican Kitchen. It’s not that different from a traditional salsa verde, where you generally boil the tomatillos and puree them with onion. But in this version, you use the broiler to give the tomatillos and peppers some char before blending and simmering. See below for the recipe, it’s a good one.