Reimagining a Tomatillo Dish for a Cooking Demo

People ask me all the time how I come up with ideas for recipes, or how I create different dishes. Sometimes I am inspired buy an article I read in a magazine, a recipe I saw, or a fabulous dinner by a favorite chef. Inspiration for most of us comes in all forms. This past weekend I catered a baby shower for one of the photographers from LoHud.com, the on-line local Gannett newspaper I write for. Helping me in the kitchen was another of the photographers from the paper. I’ve had the pleasure of working with both Carucha and Tania over the past three years, and specifically they both created several of my on line videos for my Seasonal Chef column. Then, at the end of the weekend, looking at my calendar I realized I had a demo coming up on Saturday at the the John Jay Farm Market. I like collaborating with a farm, while doing my demos, so I reached out to my friend Deb Taft, at Mobius Fields to see what she was going to be harvesting. (Stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this!) Deb sent me a list of things, one of which was tomatillos. With tomatillos in mind, I decided to reimagine a dish I made a few years ago: Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa. With the help of Carucha and Tania we created a How-To video which you can see here: Making Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa. It’s one of my favorite videos in the series.

Tomatillo, Hungarian wax pepper, garlic and onion

Armed with my inspiration I decided to work up a riff on the original recipe, using ingredients I had at home. Tomatillos are in season now and are quite delicious raw or cooked. They look like a tomato, but have a very different structure and taste. For my experiment I wanted to use them both ways: raw and cooked. I also had garlic, onion and Hungarian wax pepper from my Hilltop Hanover Farm share. For each dish I used exactly the same amount of ingredients.

Roasted tomatillo, Hungarian was, garlic and onion IMG_5677

Roasted in the oven

Raw tomatillo, Hungarian wax, garlic and onion. IMG_5676

and raw.

The end result? Both of them were really fabulous. Slightly different flavor profiles, but a great way to showcase the tart tomatillo. And a perfectly easy dish to add to your Labor Day BBQ table!

I will be demoing the raw version on Saturday, September 6 at the John Jay Farm Market, from 10:00-Noon. Please stop by for a taste. The John Jay is located on the grounds of the Homestead and quite beautiful. The weather prediction looks like it’s going to be an amazing weekend. If not there, please support your local farmers by visiting a market over the weekend!

Buon Appetito.

Tomatillo Rice Salad
Serves 6-8

1½ cups dry long grain basmati rice
1 lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed well
1 small onion
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1 fat garlic clove
1 – 4” Hungarian wax pepper
½ bunch cilantro
Zest and juice 1 lime

  1. Follow the package instructions to cook the rice. While the rice cooks prepare the salsa.
  2. Chop the tomatillo and onion in ¼” dice and place in a medium mixing bowl. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Mince the garlic and add to the bowl.
  4. Slice the pepper in half and remove the seeds. Chop in ¼” dice and add to the bowl. Mix well.
  5. Finely chop the cilantro and mix into the salsa. Last, add the lime zest and juice. Mix and let it sit for a little while to have the flavors blend.
  6. Place the rice in a large mixing bowl once it’s cooked and let it cool. Add the salsa to the rice and toss to combine.
  7. Add additional salt and pepper as needed. You can enjoy it right away, but it does taste better the next day.

 

Roasted Tomatillo Rice Salad
Serves 4-6

1½ cups dry long grain basmati rice
1 lb tomatillos, husked, rinsed well, chopped in 1″ pieces
1 small onion, chopped in 1″ pieces
1 fat garlic clove
1 – 4” Hungarian wax pepper, sliced in half, seeds removed and chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped
Zest and juice 1 lime

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degree.
  2. Follow the package instructions to cook the rice. When it’s done place it in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Place the tomatillo, onion, garlic and wax pepper on a rimmed baking sheet, along with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Toss to combine and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and allow the tray to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Once the vegetables cool slightly place them in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds. Add it to the rice and combine well.
  5. Add the cilantro, lime zest and juice. Mix and let it sit for a little while to have the flavors blend.
  6. Add additional salt and pepper as needed. You can enjoy it right away, but it does taste better the next day.
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One Comment Add yours

  1. I’d really like to give this a try. You have a lot of wonderful looking dishes!

    Like

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