26 February 2013

In Season:Tomatillos

I am in the midst of 6 weeks of healthier living. Not a detox or a diet, just 6 weeks of fewer over indulgences.  After the run up to Christmas, Christmas & fun filled Summer I just felt the need for a little less.  When I say not a detox or a diet, the programme I am on involves exercise, lots of water & no processed food & no one food group is excluded & that is why it works for me.  So I can still have my caffeine hit in the morning, fruit for snacks & pasta can still be on the menu for dinner  Not really too different to what I would normally do, just a little less food, oh & did I mention no alcohol.  Once a year I just like to know that I can do a little abstinence!

Each to their own, but this is the programme that works for me.  However, the last time I did it I wasn’t writing a food blog. I have a box of recipes to choose from & most of them are tasty, satisfying home cooked meals but not really what I blog about, not new delights I have discovered.  As with most recipes I always feel the need to experiment a little, or add a little more of one thing a little less of another to suit my own taste & I still wanted to be blogging about food that I really, really enjoy.

One of my go to snacks is crackers with a little guacamole, full of fresh bright flavours it can satisfy my taste buds & keep me going until lunch or dinner & down a the Clevedon Farmers Markets I spotted tomatillos & got quite excited.  I was just going to make salsa but a browsing through Rick Bayless Mexican Kitchen I came across this Tomatillo Guacamole & knew it would be just the ticket for an afternoon snack, tangy & spicy to waken up body & mind in the midst of an afternoon lull. In a nutshell a roasted tomatillo salsa is stirred through the guacamole to give it a little extra kick.

And to liven up a streak or fish try some Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa, fat free I can slather it on any of my meals to give them fresh, vibrant, smokey chipotle hit.  Perfect for healthy living! It would of course be quite delightful with a pile of tortilla chips, but those will have to wait for another day.

If you aren’t familiar with tomatillos, they look like pale green tomatoes (In Mexico they are called tomate verde just to add to the confusion) in a papery husk. They are a lot more tangy than tomatoes.

Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Kitchen

Makes 2 cups


For 125 ml roasted tomatillo salsa
3 medium sized tomatillos husked & rinsed
1 red chilli
1 garlic clove, unpeeled

1/4 small onion, finely diced
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
2 ripe avocados


For the salsa

Place the tomatillos on a baking tray & place under a hot grill.  Grill them until blistered & a little blackened, turning to grill on all sides. It will take 10-15 minutes.  Remove fro the grill & allow to cool.

While the tomatillos are grilling roast the chilli & garlic.  Place them on an unoiled griddle pan or skillet over a medium heat, turning occasionally until a little blackened & soft.  The chilli will take 5-10 minutes & the garlic about 15.  Remove from the heat & cool.  Remove the stem from the chilli & peel the garlic.

Place the tomatillos, garlic & chilli in the bowl of a food processor & pulse to a coarse puree.  Place the puree in a small bowl.  Rinse the onion & add to the puree along with the coriander & stir to combine.

Cut the avocados in half & scoop out the flesh & place it in a medium sized bowl & roughly mash with the back of a fork.  Stir in the salsa, taste & season with salt.  Cover with cling & let it chill for an hour or so before serving.

Tip: the salsa can be made ahead of time, up to 2 days.  Just don’t add the onion & coriander until about to use.  The finished guacamole will keep, covered & chilled in the fridge for up to 5 hours.

This will be perfect as a snack for the next couple of days or perhaps a top a little steak for tonight’s dinner.

Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Kitchen

Makes 300ml


2-4 dried chipotle chillies*
3 large garlic cloves
5-6 medium sized tomatillos, husked & rinsed
1/4 tsp sugar

*or 3-6 dried chipotle colorades or 3-6 canned chipotle chillies en adobe

Dried Chipotle

Place an un-oiled griddle pan or skillet over a medium heat.  If using the dried chillies break off the stems & then toast them for a few moments.  Lay them on the skillet & press down with a spatula until they crackle a little & you can smell their wonderful smokey aroma.  Turn them over & toast the other side & then place them in a small bowl & cover with hot water.  Leave them to rehydrate for 30 minutes.  Stir every now & then to ensure that they soak evenly & then remove from the water.  The water can be discarded.  If using the canned chillies no toasting required just remove them from the adobo.

Next toast the unpeeled garlic in the the griddle pan over a medium heat turning occasionally until blackened & softened, about 15 minutes. Cool & peel.

Place the tomatillos on a baking tray & place under a hot grill.  Grill them until blistered & a little blackened, turning to grill on all sides. It will take 10-15 minutes.  Remove fro the grill & allow to cool.

To make the salsa place the tomatillos, chillies & garlic in to a food processor & whizz until you have a smooth-ish paste.  Place in a serving bowl & stir in a little water, about 3-4 tablespoons just to make a spoonable consistency. Taste & season with salt & the sugar.

Tip: The finished salsa will keep for about 1 week in the fridge, but flavours will be brightest the first 24 hours.  

This spicy little salsa will be spicing up my meals this week.  Not only packing a little heat it is a little tangy & also has that wonderful smokiness from using chipotles & not to forget a little mellow nutty sweetness from the roasted garlic.

If you like this you might like this Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
One year ago Home Baked Vege Chips



  1. Exciting! My tomatillo plants are covered in fruit, each wrapped up in its own green paper bag. I usually just make roasted salsa verde with them, but it's great to have some new inspiration. I absolutely love your garlic photo -- you make it look so glamorous!

    1. Thanks Sue, I grew tomatillos a few years a go, they took a while but so worth the wait :) I may have to head down to Clevedon to get some more :)


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