Tomatillos are these tart little tomato-y looking green things with husks. They are not tomatoes, although they are evidently from the tomato family. To me, they taste a little bit like unripe tomatoes dipped in lime juice. They are most commonly used as the base for salsa verde when combined with jalapeños, garlic, and salt. They add a brightness to this salsa.
Tomatillos are a plant native to the western hemisphere, particularly Mexico.
As a side note, did you know that tomatoes were a native food to the western hemisphere and did not reach Europe until the 16th century? It’s true. Who knew that Sunday gravy and pizza/spaghetti sauce originated after the Spanish colonization of Mexico.
By the way, the potato, that traditional Irish food, was introduced to Europe in the 16th century by the Spaniards from the Americas. Tomato… potato… both from the indigenous languages of native Americans. (Apologies to my graduate school advisors for not using proper citations here.)
This recipe combines both tomatoes and tomatillos, along with Anaheim, Poblano, and Jalapeño chiles to create a fairly mild salsa. Boiling the ingredients mellows the chiles and tomatillos, and the salsa will last about a week when refrigerated. This salsa has the flavor without the heat… for your friends who like their salsa mild.
If you are doing a taco bar, I would suggest serving this salsa with a medium strength pico de gallo, and my very spicy roasted jalapeño salsa. All of your guests’ tastes will be covered. Feel free to play around with the ingredients to suit your tastes and accomodate the availability of ingredients.
Tomato & Tomatillo Salsa
4 Roma or medium vine ripened tomatoes
2 tomatillos, husks removed
1 poblano chile, split, stemmed, and seeded
2 Anaheim chiles, split, stemmed, and seeded
2 Jalapeño chiles, split, stemmed, and seeded
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
Salt to taste
- Boil the tomatoes, tomatillos, and chiles for five minutes.
- Strain the ingredients and add them to a blender.
- Add the garlic.
- Pulse about 3 to 4 times.
- Add salt to taste.
- Cool and refrigerate to allow the flavors to meld.
That’s it! Enjoy!