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Try Tangy Tomatillos for Mexican Sauces

Fine Cooking Issue 64
Photo: Scott Phillips
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The brilliant color and tangy flavor of Tomatillo Salsa come from its main ingredient, tomatillos. Also known as Mexican green tomatoes, husk tomatoes, and jamberries, among other aliases, tomatillos (pronounced tah-mah-TEE-ohs) are more closely related to the Cape gooseberry and the ground cherry than they are to regular tomatoes, although all are members of the nightshade family. Tomatillos look like firm little green tomatoes inside papery husks. When used raw, as they are in our salsa, their flavor is quite tart and citrusy, with an herbal quality. For other uses, like sauces and stews, tomatillos are more often cooked to tame their sharpness.

You can now find tomatillos in many supermarkets and commonly in Latin groceries. Look for tomatillos that are the size of walnut shells and that fill out their husks. The fruit should be very firm, and the husk should be closely wrapped around the fruit. Before using, peel off the husk and rinse the sticky coating off the fruit. Tomatillos will keep for three to four weeks stored loose or in a paper bag in your refrigerator’s vegetable bin.

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