Tomatillos have many names and in fact tomatillo in Spanish means “little green tomato”. Many poeple think tomatillos are unripened tomatoes. In fact they are members of the tomato family but related to the gooseberry. I don’t think I’ve ever had raw tomatillos as they are usually cooked. They are the main feature in green salsas or salsa verde. I love their slightly tangy, sour flavor.
This is one of my favorite recipes from Val 21. You can serve it as you would for fish tacos or dress it up as a sauce to serve over fish fillets. It also doubles as a salsa verde so any leftovers can be placed out with chips the next day. You can absolutely make this with canned tomatillos and save yourself the hassle of peeling the tomatoes and then roasting them. I prefer the roasted flavor but the chipotle chili in this recipe gives off enough of a smokey flavor.
Roasted Tomatillo Sauce – Serve 6
2 lbs fresh tomatillos, husked, washed and placed on a cookie sheet (or two 11 ounce cans, drained)
2 Tbsp.minced garlic
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 chipotle chili in adobo, chopped, more to taste
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 brown sugar
salt and pepper
If roasting fresh tomatillos: Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top of the tomatillos and season with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a convection oven, then use it. Rotate the tomatillos on the sheet pan to make sure they shine with a bit of the oil. Roast for about 10 minutes.
Heat a large sauce pan and and pour off the oil from the sheet pan. Once it starts to sizzle, add the garlic and sliced cherry tomatoes. Now add the roasted (or if using canned, drained tomatillos) and chipotle peppers. Using a potato masher or the back of a spoon, break the tomatillos down. Add the brown sugar and lemon juice and stir. Taste and add salt and pepper to you liking. Add freshly chopped cilantro just before serving. Serve over broiled or grilled snapper or cod.