The Tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica), is also known as the Jamberry, Husk Cherry, Mexican Husk Tomato, Husk Tomato or Mexican Tomato. It originated in Mexico and is a staple of Mexican cuisine.
Tomatillos are a key ingredient in Mexican salsas and sauces. They are eaten fried, boiled or steamed.
Green Tomatillos are the essential flavouring in green salsa. Purple and Red Tomatillos often have a slight sweetness, unlike the Green and Yellow varieties, and in addition to salsas and sauces they are suitable for fruit-like uses such as jams and preserves.
Though the fruits look rather like tomatoes, their taste is very different. The Purple Tomatillo is fruity and truly sweet-tart, with citrus flavours of lemon and lime and sub-acid flavours of plum and pear. Purple tomatillos are less tart than their green counterpart and cooking them will enhance their flavour while also imparting a greater depth of sweetness.
Purple Tomatillos contain anthocyanins, which give them their colour, and which can protect against a myriad of human diseases. The Purple Tomatillo is a good source of antioxidants and cancer fighting compounds.
Once Purple Tomatillos are removed from their husk, they should be washed to remove the slightly sticky film from the skin’s surface. Fresh tomatillos in their husks will stay fresh refrigerated in a paper bag for up to two weeks. Cooked tomatillos can also be preserved by canning them or freezing them for later use.
Recipe for Purple Tomatillo Salsa (an easy version)
• 225g (8 ounces) purple tomatillos, husked
• 1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
• 1 -2 serrano chili
• 1⁄2 cup loosely packed roughly chopped coriander (cilantro)
• 1⁄4 cup red shiso (perilla), rough chopped
• sea salt
1. Thoroughly wash the bitter film off the tomatillos with warm, almost hot water then quarter each of them.
2. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse till semi chunky.
Suggestions on how to use Purple Tomatillo Salsa:
- Mix with mayonnaise or ketchup and use as a dip for french fries.
- Combine with softened butter and refrigerate for a buttery salsa spread.
- Stir into scrambled eggs or add to omelets and frittatas.
- Replace tomato sauce for a chunky tomato salsa on a homemade pizza.
- Make a béchamel sauce, add salsa and toss with pasta.
- Stir into cooked rice; add olives and cheddar cheese.
- Layer onto a grilled cheese sandwich.
- Add salsa as your secret ingredient to soups, stews or chilis.
- Add to devilled eggs for a fiery tang.
- Add breadcrumbs and feta cheese to salsa, then stuff into eggplant halves.
- Add cucumbers, jalapeños, tomatoes and vegetable stock to salsa. Purée into gazpacho.
- Mix equal parts with yogurt or sour cream, then slather onto a baked potato or combine with mashed potatoes.