25 Ways to Use Tomatillos

By: Contributor

Photo by: Stephen Murello ©Stephen Murello

Stephen Murello, Stephen Murello

A tomatillo is a lot like a present in fruit form. You unwrap the sticky husks and are left with a super versatile, slightly sour golf-ball-size green fruit. Tomatillos are available year-round, but you can find them local and ripe at the end of the summer — the perfect time of year for endless salsas on everything from homemade tortilla chips to barbecued meat and shellfish. Store tomatillos in the fridge for up to a week with the husks still intact. When you're ready to use, peel the husks off of your tomatillos and gently rinse them (and your hands at that point) to remove the sticky residue left behind. All parts of the fruit are edible except for the husk, so you can just toss the seeds and all of that good stuff into whatever you're making. Cape gooseberries are the smaller and sweeter, but similarly husked, cousin of the tomatillo, and they also start to pop up in very limited quantities toward the end of summer and beginning of fall. Get peeling!

  1. Wow your guests with handmade olive tortillas or, if you're running short on time, buy premade tortillas for the Olive Oil Poached Shrimp with Olive Tortillas, Cumin-Scented Black Beans and Tomatillo Avocado Salsa recipe.
  2. Cuban Bowl with Tostones is a labor of love. The meat marinates overnight and then is cooked low and slow for six hours. But those bowls of pork, rice, fried plantains and black beans will be SO satisfying that this might just become your go-to slow-cooked meal for fall.
  3. Substitute tomatillos for tomatoes next time you make salsa for a slightly sour and tangy end product: Fresh Fried Corn Chips with Tomatillo Salsa, Tomatillo Salsa or Salsa Verde: Green Tomatillo Salsa (pictured above).
  4. Start the day with a balanced meal. Nuevos Huevos Rancheritos are served with black beans, grilled tomatillos, guacamole and a dollop of Cilantro Cream sauce on top.
  5. Similar to the salsas above, add tomatillos to your guac, then serve Tomatillo Guacamole with everything, especially Skirt Steak Quesadillas.
  6. Chilly on these August evenings? Heat things up with Green Pork Chili or Chili Verde (Colorado Green Chili).
  7. Sunny Anderson is making big moves with her Mexitalian combo of manicotti and enchiladas. Prepare to be amazed: Maniladas with White Cheese and Roasted Tomatillo Sauces.
  8. If that just shook you to your core, get back to basics with Kelsey Nixon's chicken Enchiladas Verdes. Poaching chicken in store-bought chicken broth with some aromatics like garlic and onion really amps up the flavor of both the chicken and the remaining broth.
  9. Dinner in a foil pouch, or Fish in Foil with Sweet Onions, Tomatoes and Mojo Verde. Mojo sauces, which originated in the Canary Islands, encompass a variety of chile sauces, ranging in both color and spiciness.
  10. Tyler Florence's Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Chile Salsa recipe is served with some yellow rice. You can use saffron, turmeric or even annatto seeds to achieve the classic yellow color.
  11. Make Carne Asada Tacos with Green Salsa, a traditional Mexican dish that originated in Mexico City in the 1940s. Microwave soft tortillas with a damp paper towel right before you’re ready to eat so they’re warm, pliable and sturdy.
  12. Charred Corn Salad with Creamy Tomatillo Dressing makes for an excellent side dish at your next barbecue. Sprinkle on some Cotija cheese, a hard-aged cheese often referred to as the "Parmesan of Mexico," to finish off the dish.
  1. Chesapeake Bay Classic Crab Cakes with red and green cocktail sauces is a great appetizer or a light lunch. Green cocktail sauce is similar to its red counterpart but made with tomatillos, rice wine vinegar, garlic and mustard seeds, in addition to horseradish.
  2. Kelsey's Sopes with Shredded Beef is a great appetizer recipe. Sopes are bite-size cornmeal tartlets. Don't rush the beef; it cooks low and slow for about three hours, which makes the meat super tender and easy to shred.
  3. Bobby Flay's Scrambled Eggs Chiliquiles with Roasted Tomatillo Sauce is a lazy Sunday morning dream. Chilaquiles are traditional Mexican dry soups made with day-old leftover tortillas.
  4. Rawr.[mhc1]  Camarones al Carbon: Grilled Tiger Shrimp with Two Sauces is a quick meal with lots of flavor from both a sweet and sour tomatillo-avocado salsa and a smoky tomato-chipotle salsa.
  5. Chipotles lend a smoky flavor to the Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with Chipotle and Roasted Garlic recipe. Roasting the garlic will add a depth of flavor to your salsa. You may never go back to raw garlic again!
  6. Cajun seasoning kicks up the heat in the Spicy Chicken Verde recipe. Top it all off with store-bought tomatillo sauce and Monterey Jack cheese, then stuff it in a taco shell with rice and pico de gallo — you've got yourself a full meal.
  7. Gueros Shrimp Alambres are marinated shrimp and tomatillo kebabs. Put everything in the pineapple-spice marinade in the morning and the kebabs will be ready to cook by dinnertime.
  8. Californian Sea Bass Ceviche Tostadas are topped with an easy pickled red onion. Fish in ceviche is partially "cooked" by sitting in the acidic lime juice.
  9. One-stop Tomatillo Chicken Tacos: Roast everything together, then whiz up the tomatillo dressing for an easy, quick meal.
  10. Stacked Tomatoes and Mozzarella with a Roasted Tomatillo Dressing brings the best of summer favorites like crab meat and tomatoes together in one salad.
  11. Serve Emeril's Shredded Pork Flautas with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with Corn and Goat Cheese Queso; you'll thank me later.
  12. Sara Moulton's recipe for Fried Eggs and Refried Bean Burritos has "massive hangover cure" written all over it, but these burritos can also be breakfast for dinner. The possibilities are endless with an egg burrito.
  13. Green Chile Tomatillo BBQ Sauce is a fiesta in your mouth: It's slightly sweet from honey, but it gets a serious kick from mustard powder, fresh jalapeno and tequila. Brush it on while you're grilling chicken or pork when they're three-quarters of the way cooked.

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