Loads of Tomatilloes
Earlier this year, following my trip to Florida where I was inspired by the variety of Mexican influenced food there, I vowed to eat more Mexican dishes. Growing my own chilli peppers and tomatilloes has helped me achieve that particular goal. I've talked about chillies in previous posts, but not really mentioned the tomatilloes, or "tomate verde".
Tomatilloes are native to Mexico and were domesticated by the Aztecs around 800bc, making them one of our most ancient vegetables. As they grow, they develop paper-like (but weatherproof!) husks which protect the fruit (I love how once it is ready, it comes with its own packaging). Its amazing to find something that grows pest free (not only do any potential nibblers have to get through the husk, but the actual fruit itself has a sticky surface before it is rinsed, so this is an extra deterrent).
This year, I didn't grow an of the usual "red" tomatoes but just concentrated on this Mexican green variety instead. They have a slightly tart, citrusy flavour and are an essential ingredient of Mexican salsas.
Its now early November and the crop is abundant but needed to be picked and used before the autumn storms finish them off (although once picked, they do store quite well in the fridge for a couple of weeks, it seems).
So this week-end, I gathered together the ingredients to cook up some spicy tomato sauce: mostly tomatilloes, but also a red pepper, 2 home-grown chillies, the juice of half a lime, a clove of garlic, 2 spring onions (scallions), quite a few cherry tomatoes from the fridge which were past their best and needed to be used, a tin of chopped tomatoes, some vegetable oil, half a teaspoon of cumin powder and a generous sprinkling of black pepper.
I chopped and fried the onions, tomatoes, garlic, chillies and pepper in the oil until they were soft then added the other ingredients and gently simmered for about 10 minutes. Then once cooled, poured into containers ready for the freezer.
For ease of storage, as we only have a small freezer, these are "concentrated" sauces so will go much further when diluted with a further tin of chopped tomatoes for dishes such as chilli-con-carne (except I do a veggie version) and enchilladas. But the possibilities are endless, here's a link for 80 more recipes from allrecipes.com :-