So I’m wondering… Are tomatillos typically in your shopping basket? Unless you shop at a farmers market, work in a nice restaurant or have great passion for Mexican food, probably not. They do show up in supermarkets, but it’s rare. And what a shame.

Tomatillos are a cousin to the tomato, though their taste is not as sweet—it’s tart and citrusy, and the flesh is firm. And then there’s that cute little paper lantern they wear. They are a key ingredient in salsa verdé and many other Mexican dishes. For my Green Gal version, I decided to lightly grill the tomatillos so that they would soften and get just a little syrupy and sweet. This salsa pairs well with my veggie fritters, in case you are wondering how to serve them. But however you use them, tomatillos are worth a try. They add a new level of flavor to your summer menu and can be used in everything from soups to salsas to salads.

Grilled Tomatillo & Avocado Salsa

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: about 2 cups sauce

Serving Size: 4 or 5 tablespoons

Grilled Tomatillo & Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

  • Eight tomatillos, sliced in two, lightly coated with olive oil and salted with coarse sea salt
  • One medium ripe red tomato, quartered
  • One teaspoon minced hot pepper, Harissa or seasoning of choice (You can control the heat by which ingredient you choose. Harrisa will definitely add levels of flavor that you can’t get from just minced up peppers alone. If you are using just a pepper, you’ll want to add a minced clove or two of garlic and maybe some ground cumin.)
  • One teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • One-half cup minced red onion
  • Two tablespoons olive oil
  • Zest and juice of one small lime
  • One-half cup fresh cilantro, minced (I was very generous here with the half cup.)
  • One tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • One tablespoon agave or honey
  • Two fairly large ripe avocados, diced

Instructions

  1. Over medium-hot fire, grill your tomatillo halves until they soften and become a little syrupy. Turn them once during the cooking. Allow to cool.
  2. Put the grilled tomatillos and the red tomato into a food processor along with all other ingredients except the avocados. Pulse three or four times in order to combine without completely pureeing everything. Chill.
  3. Just before serving, split your avocados, remove the pits and dice into the prepared salsa.

Notes

Note that the prep time includes the time it takes to prep all the ingredients. The cook time refers to the gill time for the tomatillos--give or take a couple of minutes. Chilling will take another hour or two. Once you add your diced avocado, serve immediately.

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grilled tomatillos

Tomatillos go pretty fast on the grill. You will want to watch them closely and pull them off as soon as they become runny. I used foil on the grill grate so I wouldn’t lose any of the yummy syrup.

And that’s about it. A simple-to-prepare salsa with unexpected flavors that is just great with with tortilla chips, grilled tofu, chicken or fish. Oh… and veggie fritters, too.

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