Tomatillo season

illustration By mark stivers

The schizophrenic weather this growing season has been confusing at best and disappointing at worst. The snap pea season lasted about two weeks, the berries were unusually tart, and the tomatoes that weren’t Early Girls or Sun Golds were totally screwed from the start.

However, the late rains and crazy heat have ushered in a spectacular tomatillo crop this year. Tomatillos are green (and sometimes purple) fruits that look like tomatoes, but sport a festive-looking paper lantern casing. These fruits are a key ingredient in many Latin-American cuisines and are the source flavor for green chili sauces.

When the season is in, I make belly-aching amounts of salsa verde. Remove the husks from 1 1/2 pounds of tomatillos, and cut them in half lengthwise. Salt them generously, and place them cut-side down on a foil-lined metal tray. Broil for five to seven minutes. Place in a food processor with some cilantro, lime juice, a few garlic cloves and a jalapeño (seeded or not; it’s your call). Toss with some chopped green onion, and serve with chips, on eggs, with tacos, or use for enchiladas.