Tomatillos—also known as Mexico’s “little tomatoes”—are an underrated culinary staple that add a unique, tangy flavor to any dish. Whether you are looking for a simple side dish or something more complex to serve at your next dinner party, learning how to cook with tomatillos can open up a world of flavorful possibilities. Not only are they delicious and easy to prepare, but their bright green hue adds fun color and presentation value too! So get ready, because in this post I’ll be sharing some savvy tips on how to work with these tasty gems so you can make the most out of your cooking experience every time.
What Is A Tomatillo?
Before delving into how to cook with tomatillos, it’s important to understand what a tomatillo is. A small, green-husked fruit native to Mexico, tomatillos are closely related to tomatoes and have a tart flavor similar to lemons or limes. Commonly found in Mexican cuisine, this versatile ingredient can be used for soups, salads, sauces, and more.
What Does A Tomatillo Look Like?
Tomatillos are small, round fruits that grow inside a pale green paper-like husk. The size and shape of these fruits can vary depending on what type you purchase; however, they generally range from two to three inches in diameter. Tomatillos have thin, slightly sticky skin that ranges from yellowish-green to dark purple in color. The interior of the fruit has a soft, juicy texture and is filled with edible seeds.
What Is The Difference Between Green And Red Tomatillos?
There are two main types of tomatillos available: green and red. Green tomatillos have a tart, citrusy flavor and firm texture. They are often used in savory dishes like salsa verde or guacamole. Red varieties have a sweeter taste and softer consistency, which makes them ideal for desserts or jams. It’s important to note that the ripeness of a tomatillo can have a significant impact on its flavor and texture. Unripe fruits will be firm to the touch, while ripe ones will feel slightly soft when pressed.
What Are Some Of The Health Benefits Of Eating Tomatillos?
Tomatillos are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that make them a healthy addition to any diet. They contain essential vitamins like vitamin A, which is important for vision and immune system health; as well as folate and vitamin C, which help support cell growth and repair. Tomatillos also boast impressive levels of dietary fiber, which helps keep your digestive system running smoothly and can help to lower your cholesterol levels. Additionally, their high antioxidant content helps protect against oxidative stress and inflammation, making them a beneficial addition to any diet.
What Are Some Of The Best Recipes That Use Tomatillos?
Tomatillos are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes. For starters, try making a classic salsa verde with tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and lime juice. This bright sauce is perfect for topping tacos or adding flavor to your favorite burrito bowls. Alternatively, you can use tomatillos to make a flavorful mole sauce, which can be served over chicken or beef. Tomatillos are also great for adding crunch and tang to salads or grilled vegetables. For a sweet use of tomatillos, try making a tangy jam with sugar, honey, and cinnamon—it’s the perfect spread for toast or crackers.
What Good Ingredients To Cook With Tomatillos?
There are a number of ingredients that pair well with tomatillos and can help you create delicious dishes. For starters, try adding onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapenos or chiles to your recipes for extra flavor. To enhance the tangy taste of tomatillos, use citrus such as lime or lemon juice. If you’re looking to add a bit of sweetness, throw in some honey or agave syrup. Lastly, if you’re looking for a creamy texture, try adding avocados or yogurt to your dishes.
What Ingredients Should Not Be Cooked With Tomatillos?
Tomatillos have a delicate flavor that can easily be overpowered by strong ingredients. To avoid this, it is best to stay away from spices like cumin or oregano that will overpower the natural taste of the tomatillos. Additionally, acidic ingredients such as vinegar should also be avoided as they can make the tomatillos too tart. Lastly, processed or canned ingredients should be avoided in order to keep your dish as fresh and flavorful as possible.
How To Cook With Tomatillos?
Cooking with tomatillos is a simple process that yields delicious results. Start by removing the husks and washing the fruit before preparing your recipe. For savory dishes, you can either roast or boil the tomatillos until they are soft and slightly charred on the outside. To add extra flavor, try sautéing them with onions, garlic, cilantro, and jalapeno peppers. If you are using tomatillos in a sweet dish like jam or dessert sauce, simmer them with sugar, honey, and cinnamon until the mixture is thick and fragrant.
Tomatillos are a flavorful, tart green fruit that can be used in all kinds of dishes. They have a unique taste that sets them apart from other fruits and vegetables. When shopping for tomatillos, look for those that feel heavy for their size, with no soft spots or blemishes.
Once you get home with your ripe tomatillos, it’s time to start cooking! Here are some of our favorite ways to use ripe tomatillos:
- Salsa Verde: Tomatillos make a wonderful base for salsa. Roast the fruit in the oven or on the stovetop and blend with onions, garlic, jalapeños, and cilantro for a spicy salsa.
- Tomatillo Stew: This one-pot dish is perfect for a cold night. Simmer tomatillos, potatoes, carrots, and your favorite seasonings in chicken or vegetable broth for an easy meal.
- Tomatillo Sauce For Enchiladas: Purée roasted tomatillos with onions and garlic to make a delicious sauce for enchiladas. Add your favorite Mexican seasonings to make it extra flavorful.
- Tomatillo Guacamole: Mix ripe tomatillos with avocados, onions, garlic, lime juice, and cilantro for a creamy guacamole with a bit of tang. Serve as an appetizer or spoon onto tacos or burritos.
- Tomatillo Gazpacho: This refreshing cold soup is perfect for summertime. Combine tomatillos with bell peppers, cucumbers, garlic, and your favorite herbs and spices for a flavorful gazpacho that will keep you cool all season long.
Cooking with raw tomatillos is a great way to add some zest to your dishes! Raw tomatillos can be used in many different ways. Here are some of the best recipes for using raw tomatillos:
- Tomatillo Soup: Cook tomatillos together with onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes and some chicken broth for a delicious, flavorful soup!
- Tomatillo Salsa: Roast tomatillos, garlic and onions in the oven until slightly charred. Then combine with cilantro, jalapeños and lime juice to make an amazing salsa to serve with chips or tacos.
- Tomatillo Enchiladas: Mix cooked tomatillos with cheese, peppers and onion in a large bowl. Place the mixture inside corn tortillas and bake until crispy. Serve with avocado slices and sour cream for a delicious Mexican-inspired meal!
- Tomatillo Relish: Make a tasty relish by combining raw tomatillos, jalapeños, cilantro and red onion. Then season with olive oil, lime juice and salt. Enjoy over grilled meats or even as a side dish for tacos.
- Tomatillo Salad: Combine raw tomatillos with cucumber, jicama, cilantro, bell pepper and avocado in a large bowl. Drizzle some olive oil and lime juice over the top for an amazing salad that is perfect for lunch or dinner.
How Do I Know When The Tomatoes Are Cooked?
Tomatillos are cooked when they turn a bright green color and become slightly soft. To check if the tomatillos are done cooking, try piercing them with a fork – if it goes in easily, they’re ready! Keep in mind that overcooked tomatillos can have an unpleasant flavor, so be sure to remove them from heat before they become too soft.
Cooking with tomatillos can be a delicious and fun way to add flavor to your dishes! By following the tips above, you’ll be able to create flavorful recipes that will tantalize your taste buds. With so many uses for this versatile fruit, it’s no wonder why tomatillos have become such a popular ingredient in kitchens around the world.
How Do You Store Tomatillos?
When storing tomatillos, remove the husks and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. If you won’t be using them within 2-3 days, it’s best to freeze them for up to 4 months. Additionally, cooked tomatillos can also be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. So, now that you know how to cook with tomatillos, try adding them to your favorite recipes! With a bit of creativity and the right ingredients, you can take your dishes to the next level with the delicious flavor of tomatillos.
Are tomatillos supposed to be cooked?
Discover the distinct essence of fresh tomatillos – a perfect harmony of tartness, brightness, and a hint of citrus. These versatile gems are predominantly enjoyed in their cooked form, while also lending themselves to delightful raw preparations.
Are tomatillos safe to eat raw?
Discover the perfect way to enjoy tomatillos – whether it’s raw or cooked. Personally, I recommend cooking them to mellow out their unique tartness. The tomatillos available at supermarkets are primarily sourced from Mexico, but keep an eye out for local options at your nearby farmers’ market between July and September.
Do tomatillos taste like fried green tomatoes?
Experience the delightful tang of fried tomatillos. Similar to fried green tomatoes, these crispy treats pack a refreshing lemony punch that will leave your taste buds craving more. Savor the satisfying crunch that lingers long after they’re cooked to perfection in hot oil.
Do you roast or boil tomatillos?
Enhance the flavor of your tomatillos by roasting them in the oven or browning them on the stovetop. Alternatively, you can choose the more traditional route of boiling them. Whichever method you choose, rest assured that all options work effectively to cook your tomatillos.
Can you eat the sticky stuff on tomatillos?
Prepare tomatillos by removing their husks and rinsing them thoroughly to eliminate their natural stickiness. The husks are inedible, so it is essential to discard them. Unlike other fruits, there is no need to peel or seed tomatillos before consuming them.
What happens when you overcook tomatillos?
Achieve a flawless salsa by ensuring that the tomatillo is thoroughly rinsed to remove any stickiness and avoiding overcooking. When expertly charred, these tomatillos can lend a tangy, almost sweet flavor to your green sauce. Don’t miss out on this tantalizing taste experience.
Should chicken be cooked with tomatillos?
Explore tantalizing tomatillo recipes that are sure to become family favorites! Enjoy the classic combination of chicken and tomatillos by sautéing a mixture of diced chicken, onions, garlic, cilantro and jalapeños with pan-seared tomatillos. This savory salsa is sure to add more flavor to tacos and enchiladas alike.
Should milk be cooked with tomatillos?
Liven up your meals by adding the zing of tomatillos. Transform a classic cheese sauce into something extraordinary by combining milk, garlic, jalapeños and cooked tomatillos in a large pot. This scrumptious sauce is sure to become a favorite for pasta night!
Is cooking tomatillos for 10 minutes overcooked?
Cook your tomatillos correctly and enjoy their tantalizing flavor. When roasting or boiling, the tomatillo should be removed from heat after 8-10 minutes to avoid becoming overcooked. Keep an eye on them as they cook and check for doneness with a fork once the color becomes bright green.
Is cooking tomatillos with beef for 15 minutes cooked?
When cooking with tomatillos, it’s essential to keep an eye on the clock. To fully cook beef and tomatillo tacos, simmer together in a large skillet for about 15 minutes. Once they are cooked through, transfer to a plate and enjoy the delicious flavor.
Conclusion: How To Cook With Tomatillos
Tomatillos are a versatile, flavorful fruit that can be used in a wide variety of dishes. From salsa verde to tomatillo gazpacho, cooking with tomatillos is an easy way to add some zest to your meals! When shopping for tomatillos, look for those that feel heavy for their size and have no soft spots or blemishes. For the best results, roast or boil the tomatillos and avoid over-cooking them! To store tomatillos, remove the husks and keep in a sealed container in the fridge. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to create delicious dishes that will tantalize your taste buds.
Susan Muskat is a professional chef with over 25 years of experience in the culinary industry. After working in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the world, she opened her own restaurant, Moose and Sadie’s, which quickly became a local favorite. Susan is also the author of a blog all about recipes, guidelines, cooking tips, and knowledge from professional chefs. She loves nothing more than sharing her passion for food with others.