New Food Friday – Tomatillo

14 Dec

You’ve heard of them, you may have even eaten them in a salsa and didn’t know it. But have you cooked with one? Well, you know the drill. Say it with me: Tomatillo is the fruit being discussed for New Food Friday.

Tomatillo with paper skin removed

Tomatillo with paper skin removed

Tomatillo is a “papery” covered fruit that looks just like a green tomato. In fact, it is called tomate verde (green tomato) in Spanish. This papery husk is a good indication of its freshness. The husk should be light brown and not shriveled.

The tomatillo is of Mexican origin.  It is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, niacin, potassium and manganese. It is in the nightshade family. 

I couldn’t find a recipe online that stoked my fire. So, I decided to taste this pretty green globe to see if I could get some ideas as to which way I should go.  It wasn’t what I expected. I thought it would be spicy. You know how in previous  New Food Friday posts I’ve said, “It looks like a potato, but it doesn’t taste like a potato.” Or, “It’s crunchy and juicy like an apple, but it doesn’t taste like an apple.” 

Tomatillo halved

Tomatillo halved

Well, a tomatillo looks like a green tomato from the outside, minus the papery skin, slices like a tomato, looks like a tomato on the inside with seeds and pulpy parts, and guess what? It tastes like a tomato!  It’s a bit more citrus flavored than a tomato and the skin has more crunch than a tomato. That helped me decide what to do with it.

Since I didn’t have any tomatoes in the house, I decided to make Tabbouleh using tomatillo instead of tomatoes. If you recall, the Tabbouleh recipe is here. I planned to have lamb chops for dinner and the Tabbouleh was a good side dish for it because it contains mint. Mint jelly is often paired with lamb so I knew this menu had potential.  While I was letting the Bulgar soak, I remembered that I had sun dried tomatoes in olive oil in the fridge. They went into the dish. I also thought that some lemon rind would look pretty in this dish. Is this a festive party in a bowl or what? The ingredients scream Mexico to me!

Teboulah with Tomatillo

Teboulah with Tomatillo

The end result was as delicious as it was pretty. The lemon rind was a great, tasty addition. If you decide you like tomatillo, look for dry, hard tomatillos with tightly fitting husks that are free of mold. Keep them in your crisper drawer of your refrigerator (unlike tomatoes).You can also grow them in your garden in the spring. Burpee sells the seeds and they mature in about 100 days.

I also decided to try tomatillo cooked. It looked pretty sliced on top of a personal sized pan pizza.


Cast Iron Skillet Pizza with Tomatillo

It had all the colors of the Mexican flag! Green, white, and red! (The same colors of the Italian flag.) This was the first time I tried making pizza in a cast iron skillet and I liked it! Less mess to clean up. There are many recipes online for cast iron skillet pizza, just be sure your pan is well seasoned. It’s easy to remove the pizza from the pan with a spatula.


Skillet Pizza with Tomatillo, plated

Tomatillo; it’s not just for salsa anymore! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


15 Responses to “New Food Friday – Tomatillo”

  1. juwannadoright December 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Thanks for this post. I’ve seen tomatillos many times in the market – but never knew what to do with them. Since I enjoy venturing into new foods, you’ve give me some inspiration.


    • Marcella Rousseau December 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

      I’ve seen them too but never had the time to look into what I could do with them. Glad I could inspire you ; – )


  2. reocochran December 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Think this opens my eyes to a new food. I have had green tomatoes and also verde sauces. I will enjoy tomatillos someday. Roasting would be good, too.


    • Marcella Rousseau December 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

      I haven’t experimented much with green sauces except for pesto sauces. I’ve made spinach pesto sauces and I’ve made something that I saved some in my freezer but I don’t remember what it is! I know it’s a pesto sauce and I know I need to add chopped parsley to it but that’s all I remember! : – ) I always think I’m going to remember stuff but I don’t! Next time I will label it! Half the time I label and half the time I don’t (because I think I’m going to remember.) lol.


      • camparigirl December 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

        On a completely unrelated subject, I sat on the couch with the dogs last night and we all watched “Beyond Rangoon” that I really wanted to see after reading your review. I really enjoyed it (but I couldn’t shake off your comment about Ms Arquette’s hair!). I missed not seeing more of Frances McDormand and I don’t think Ms. Arquette has enough range to carry a whole movie but I didn’t know it was a John Boorman’s film and few Western directors can shoot the Orient like he does. Thanks for the suggestion – I would have never gotten to the movie otherwise.


        • Marcella Rousseau December 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

          I’m glad you enjoyed it. Didn’t Arquette’s hair irk you? It did me! She was the only weak spot in the movie but the movie was so strong that after a while you didn’t notice. I’m a big fan of McDormand too. She played a director in another film I saw but I can’t remember the name of it. She is just extraordinary. I loved her in Fargo. That’s another movie I love. I can’t remember what I heard or if I wrote anything about Boorman. I’m so glad you got to see it. Thanks for letting me know.


  3. soulofspice December 14, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    Yummy! I’ve had green tomato chutney my mom used to make…btw that pan pizza looks Delish.. Will you do a post sometime…


    • Marcella Rousseau December 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      I like chutneys. I have a cranberry/pear/orange chutney that I make every year during the holidays. ; – ) I don’t think I can justify pizza for good health! Lots of cheese and lots of white flour (although I think I did use a little white whole wheat flour for some nutritional value). It’s not low calorie either. So, unfortunately, I have no plans for it on my blog. Plus, it’s a bit tricky. The recipe I got online stated to brown the pizza on the stovetop for 3 minutes on HIGH. My first pizza was too “browned” (black). The second time I made it I tried only 2 minutes on high. It was still too browned. The next time I make it, I will only do one minute, or maybe I need to do it on med-high. I just need to experiment more. Even if I figured out a way to make this a more healthful dish so that I could put it on my blog, I still haven’t perfected the cooking process and I won’t publish a recipe that isn’t foolproof. There’s nothing worse than getting a recipe from a blogger and then finding out too late that the directions are poor and you end up with a dish that isn’t edible. (I haven’t found that to be true of your recipes, so don’t worry ; – ) So, you can imagine how if feels to go through all the effort and end up not getting the results that the blogger raved about. I think I got the recipe on Pinterest but for the life of me, I can’t find it now.


  4. Hot Rod Cowgirl December 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    It looks yummy!


  5. camparigirl December 14, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    Tomatillos are such a staple of Mexican cooking where they are mostly enjoyed roasted. Added to many a sauce (pureed) after roasting they add wonderful depth. Good findin!


    • Marcella Rousseau December 14, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

      I will have to try roasting them. That sounds like a good option. It seems like so many things taste better roasted!


  6. Green Door Hospitality December 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Love tomatillos! Actually prefer green sauces to red 🙂


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