My tomatillos came late this year. As they grew — way too slowly — I would lightly pinch their puffed-out husks to see how far the fruit had filled out. Usually, I met air pockets with a tiny orb lurking inside. Then, all of a sudden, in mid-September the fruit began breaking out of their papery husks and turning all kinds of dusky, beautiful colors.
I do one thing and one thing only with tomatillos, and it's make green salsa. Citrusy, tart, addictive green salsa that I slather on quesadillas, over broiled fish, or spoon onto an avalanche of tortilla chips with which I then stuff my face.
This year, for the first time, I decided to broil the little guys and watch them blister, then combine them with similarly blackened onions and jalapeño peppers, as well as liberal doses of cilantro and lime. The house filled with almost sweet, burnt aromas, and my efforts yielded a salsa with earthier, more savory flavors — one which I promptly loaded onto a chicken tostada topped with queso fresco and quick-pickled red onions.
Since it's October 11 and there has yet to be a frost where I live, I hope I'll be happily snacking on this bumper crop of tiny green tomatoes for at least a few more days. I'm going to broil the bejeusus out of them all.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
2 cups tomatillos (roughly; just use a lot — they will shrink)
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and sliced
1-2 jalapeño peppers (depending on how hot you like it) halved and seeded
Juice of 1 lime
Handful of chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
First, peel the husks from the tomatillos and rinse to remove some of their sticky, waxy exteriors. Turn on the broiler. Fan out the tomatillos, onion slices and jalapeño on a baking sheet (line it with foil if you hate to clean up). Place under broiler and cook until everything starts to blister, about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on distance from flame to fruit. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
In a food processor, pureé onions, pepper and cilantro until well combined. Add tomatillos and lime juice, and process into a chunky salsa. Season with salt to taste, and serve.