Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tomatillo salsa

The tomatillo harvest has begun. This Summer crop only seems to ripen for us around late March, but, with luck and frost protection, we'll be harvesting into June. We pick them under-ripe as they seem to lose flavour and texture as they mature. Then we do this to them:

Grilled tomatillo salsa
     500g tomatillos, husked and washed
     chicken or fish
     1 tablespoon olive oil
     1 medium onion, diced
     3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
     1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
      fresh chillies to taste
     1tsp cumin seeds
     1/2tsp ground coriander
      salt + pepper
     1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, toasted till puffed and crispy.

    Grill tomatillos on the barbie (wood smoke makes them even more delicious!) or in a char pan until squishy and blackened. Fry cumin in the oil until fragrant, add the ground coriander seeds, onion and garlic, cook gently until onion is softened. Add tomatillos and mash (I like mine chunky so I use the back of a wooden spoon to break them up) or blend, then bring to a simmer. Grill or brown the fish or chicken and add to mashed tomatillos and simmer until cooked, stir through most of the coriander. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and the rest of the coriander. This recipe was adapted from one at Epicurious. Sadly I'm not a chef or food writer, so apologies for bad technical descriptions, or lack thereof!
    I also heard today that the Agrarian Kitchen has pickled these tasty morsels, and a fabulous early market customer, who gives up her Sunday sleep-in to get the best produce, says she makes a fantastic salsa with the raw fruit. And the brilliant Michelle took home a pretty bag full today (while providing us with sustenance in the form of divine cupcakes). If you have any tips on tomatillo preparation please share with us!

    So, if you have a plant in the garden that hasn't ripened fruit yet, don't give up hope. If a frost threatens, take the advice of the wonderful Kate and get some lace curtains from the local op-shop and suspend on stakes above your plant. With care you'll reap a great harvest until June too. And if this has whet your appetite you can grab a bag at our next market stall on the 8th of May, but you might have to get there early! And, if we have enough to spare next week, you may just find them at our date-night haunt, sitting delectably on a pretty plate......We'll also have seedlings available in November if you want to try your hand at growing your own.
    Baby tomatillo plant, worthy of a place in the garden for its good looks alone.

    And the very best part, even though it might be very bad manners, is watching the garden fairies lick their plates!

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