Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Roasted Tomatillo & Lime Salsa

5 years ago, we started growing tomatillos as I could not find them anywhere in Australia, other than a few tinned ones through a Mexican food importer. I could however, find the seeds. Loving Mexican food I really wanted to try this fruit that pops up so much in recipes from the US. Now, I can find jars of tomatillo salsa in the supermarket but once it was not so easy! They are a very pretty plant and I love watching the "lanterns" grow and in the autumn, finding the skeletonized husks - they're just so delicate and lovely.

That first year I coddled and coaxed and crooned to my tomatillo seeds, begging them to sprout and then grow into strong seedlings for me (Ok, so maybe I didn't croon to them but let's just imagine for a moment that I did). Liking a warm climate like tomatoes which are notoriously late to ripen in our mountains, I didn't hold out a lot of hope, but I perservered. They were covered and kept warm, and dutifully planted out after the last frost, and covered at night - all of those things a desperate gardener will do for a prized plant. Four out of the twelve plants survived and fruited, and although I liked them, I just thought they would be too laborious for the following year. They didn't like our cooler summers, and it seemed a lot of effort.

The following year, much to my surprise, volunteer seedlings popped up mid spring, and flourished. So much so that every year since the plants have been stronger and fruited earlier, acclimatising themselves to our alpine region and this year, completely invading the garden. Today I decided to pull them all out, the nights are getting quite cold already (that's the Blue Mountains for you, two seasons - winter, and February LOL). I ended up with a bit over 9 kilograms of them (that's about 20 pounds for those using Imperial measurements).  I picked a couple of kilos off some early plants but this is definitely a record! So roasted salsa it is! I've divided the recipe into a manageable and smaller batch for those that don't have  a ridiculous amount like me. I also omitted chilli powder this time as not everyone likes chilli as much as me.... but that's ok feel free to add siracha when you serve!

2 kg tomatillos
2 large onions
3 cloves garlic
1 lime
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of salt
1 bunch coriander leaves (cilantro)

Dehusk and thoroughly wash the tomatillos
Quarter onions, peel and halve garlic cloves, and cut and quarter the lime
In a baking dish, put in the tomatillos, onions, garlic, and lime, and roast on 180C n a preheated oven until tomatillos collapse.
Allow to cool and then pulse onion,garlic, and the flesh of the lime in a food processor.
Add tomatillos and pulse a couple of times to chop, not puree.
either in a slow cooker or a saucepan, put in the tomatillo mixture and add cumin, salt, and coriander leaves. 
Simmer until reduced and thick and chunky (I used my enormous slow cooker and left in on low overnight with the lid slightly askew for the vapour to get out).

Serve with your favourite chilli or use as a dip with corn chips, or slather on some hot warm soft tacos