Thursday, July 23, 2009

TFF - Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Different seasons always put me in the mood for different foods. I think this is probably true for anyone. For example, the moment the temperatures start to drop in the fall, I want soup. And in the dead of winter, the only thing on my table is hearty, hunterscomeinoutofthecold food, like sauerbraten, braised beef, and chicken and noodles.

Likewise, when the sun starts spending more time in the sky, I start to crave vegetables, sweet corn is a big one. But when Mother Nature really turns up the heat, and its just almost too hot to eat, let alone heat the house up for the sake of cooking, I want SALSA. Chop up some nice tomatoes, chiles, cilantro and onion, and tear open a bag of tortilla chips and I don't need anything else to eat. I could live on chips and salsa in the summertime. Salsa Fresca, Pico de Gallo, fruity Peach or Mango salsa, burn-the-hairs-right-out-of-your-nose HOT salsa, doesn't matter to me. As long as there is a lot of flavor. I like my food to be a mouthful of flavors fighting for control of my tastebuds. Sweet, Sour, Tart, Hot, Savory....I want it all.

My taste buds would like to personally thank Tyler Florence for making their day.

Have you ever had a tomatillo? You know, those weird looking little things that resemble small green tomatoes, but have a paper husk around them? No? Well, you SHOULD. And there will never be a better time than now. I have always loved them, because they are little powerhouses of flavor. Tart and pungent, they make my mouth happy. You can use them raw (after peeling and rinsing, of course), or you can do like Tyler does, and roast them.

I know, I know, I just made a big speech about not heating up the house for the sake of cooking, but you can do this in the morning when its cool (which is what I did), and then enjoy the fruits of your labor later on.

In Tyler's book, he recommends serving it with his Chiles Rellenos. (I am SO sorry, I can't remember which book this is in. I am fairly sure its in Eat This Book, but it may also be Stirring the Pot. When I get back home, I'll double check and post a comment!) I am a personal believer, however, that this is a standalone dish that is perfectly good just scooped up in a chip. Not to belittle Tyler's suggestion, I did decide to pair it up with another food. See, I recently roasted a whole ton of chicken pieces and had about half of that amount leftover.....hmmm what else do I have in quantity in my fridge? Yep! Corn! Let's see, what else is in here.....tortillas......queso fresco.....and cotija cheese.... Yeah, this will work!!! Here's what I did:

Shred some leftover roasted, baked, fried or rotisserie chicken. Whatever you've got handy.

In a baking dish (or you could do this on your grill to keep the house cool, if your husband wasn't a slacker who had yet to pick out his new grill...) put some shredded chicken on one side of a tortilla, top with some grated or sliced queso fresco. Scatter with some corn (cut off the cob, of course!) and fold the tortilla over.

Bake in the oven at 350 (ish) until the cheese is melty.

Remove from the oven and top with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa and a little Cotija cheese.
Ok, you're going to have to excuse me for a moment....
If I smoked, I'd probably have to light up right now....
Please, please, PLEASE try this at home.
My tastebuds would give Tyler a standing ovation right now if they could....
The corn added a nice little bit of crunch, and the queso fresco is so creamy, it played against the bite of the salsa. When I made the salsa, I used some hot chiles (I think they were serranos) instead of jalapenos, and admittedly, I used more than he suggests....but hey, I'm a chili-head, you should know this about me by now. I also probably used more cilantro than the recipe called for, but again, that's standard operating procedure at my house, too.
If you were paying close attention, you noticed that some of the quesadillas had corn and some didn't. That's because this was SO good, I made more last night but I was out of corn. That's actually THREE times this week that I've eaten them...and I have more packed for my lunch at work today.

So, really, this recipe couldn't be easier, and now that I know it is this good, I'll be making another batch just as soon as I can get my hands on some more tomatillos, and I'm going to freeze jars of it for later! I really hope you do try this...I think it is the perfect summer food. I'm wondering how I could work it into a marinade for chicken or pork and then grill that might be seeing THAT post soon, too!

Happy Summer, everyone! Its half over, so start enjoying it!
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 jalapeño, split down the middle
1 small spanish onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
½ bunch fresh cilantro
2 limes, juice only

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
On a roasting tray, arrange tomatillos, jalapeño, onion and garlic. Drizzle with a 3-count of oil (about 3 tablespoons) and season with salt.Roast for 10-12 minutes, until tomatillos are tender and slightly blistered.Put the cooked vegetables in a blender with the cilantro and lime juice.Pour in oil and process until you have a smooth puree (be careful when you process the hot vegetables in the blender; hold down the lid with a kitchen towel over the top). Taste and, if desired, adjust the seasoning with extra lime juice or salt according to preference.

In all seriousness, people, this may be my new favorite summer dish. I still have more in the fridge, and I'm already planning another batch as soon as I can get my hands on some more tomatillos. The great news about this is that it doesn't even have to be a "summer" dish. If you live near a big enough store, tomatillos are available year round. You can make this as mild or as hot as you want, since the tomatilos are full of flavor, but not heat. The heat is based solely on the variety and quantity of the chiles you use.

In case you missed the point of this, this is most definitely my submission for Tyler Florence Fridays this week. Please stop by tomorrow afternoon to check out the roundup!

Well, I'm signing off for the week. Ginny is coming out tomorrow evening and we've got another cooking class on our agenda this weekend, and I'm taking Ty to the county fair tonight, so I hope to have lots of great pictures for you next week. Have a great weekend, everyone!!!


Bev said...

I'll be at the county fair Friday and/or Saturday night. The weather is so good for it this year and I'm sure Ty will have a blast! I like the new background on your's so cool how your text scrolls over it.

Donna-FFW said...

You have convinced me to try this .. it sounds beyond wonderful.

Natashya said...

That looks soo amazing! I wish we got Latin ingredients here, I really feel like I am missing out on some great foods.
And I totally agree with you - double up on the seasonings!

Kim said...

I'm so happy for you that you won this week!! Congrats Beth : ) Your picture of this salsa was excellent!! I've looked at this recipe a lot and wanted to make it, but I can never find tomatillos. Did you have a hard time finding them?

girlichef said...

Wow, this looks absolutely delicious!! Congrats on being picked for Tyler's blog this week...gorgeous photo, too! :D

Katy said...

Wonderful post!! I am SO trying this one! And congrats on being picked for Tyler's blog!! :)

Debinhawaii said...

I love tomatillos when I can find them at the Latin store here. Your salsa looks delicious. Congrats on being the featured TFF pick this week!

Joanne said...

I know what you mean about having seasonal cravings! I am all about veggies all the time but which veggies I crave changes with the month. All winter I craved butternut squash and sweet potatoes and now I'm craving tomatoes and zucchini. This looks so delicious. I love your idea for using it on a quesadilla!

Anonymous said...

Yes! I canned my tomatillos last year so I'd have them all winter! We love them! Congrats on being selected this week...It's well deserved! What a great post!! Your photos are fabulous and your article is great! Love your blog-scape too. I love red and black as a food back-drop. I can almost taste your salsa...could you pass the bowl please? I just happen to have some fresh chips here...

Kristin said...

This sounds wonderful! Congrats on being this weeks winner! I can't wait to try this!

melissa said...

looks delicious! i'll definitely have to try this. we love all things salsa in our house!

Ty'sMommy said...

You guys are the best! I'm glad you all took the time to stop by.

You know what is odd, is I am usually the one who can't find ingredients, so I was shocked that some of you have a hard time finding tomatillos. I never even thought to look in the latin grocery for them. I actually got mine at Meijer's, and I'm pretty certain I've seen them at a Super Walmart near here before. I don't ever get them in my little podunk town, but I always seem to be able to get them at the next big city over. I guess I've just gotten used to driving an hour for my groceries. It stinks. I hope you are able to get your hands on some tomatillos to try this! I think you'll love it!

Jenny said...

Sound fabulous. I'll have to keep my eye open for tomatillos.

Anonymous said...

First, I am so with you on the tortilla chips and salsa as a main course. I'm not a tomato lover, but there is something about the way corn (and corn products) and tomato (and tomato products) blend together. It is Nirvana.

Second, I love you for what you have in your fridge in quantity. Namely, queso fresco and cotija cheeses.

Third, I almost laughed out loud at your reminder to cut the corn off the cob before placing in the tortilla. I envisioned some foolhardy soul putting the whole ear of corn in there and wrapping the tortilla around it. I'm sure someone has tried it!

We are eyeing our menu for tonight, and have Mexican in mind. I think that you've solved our dilemma on which direction to take (the carnivore portion may be carne asada). Thanks!

And finally, I found you through TasteSpotting and am writing to say that if you have any photos that aren’t accepted there, I’d love to publish them. Visit my new site (below), it’s a lot of fun! I hope you will consider it.