Cooking with Tomatillos

Article first published as Get To Know The Tomatillo on Blogcritics.

Cuisine in California has been influenced by Mexican culture for years. As supermarkets produce sections expand with more exotic fruits and vegetables there are increasing opportunities to try new recipes. I’ve lived in California my entire life and often looked at the curious little green husk-covered fruits know as tomatillos in the store. The certainly look strange and unpalatable. I recently came across breakfast scramble recipe in my South Beach Quick & Easy Cookbook and decided to give them a try.

Tomatillos are a staple of Mexican cuisine. They are a base of many green salsas and sauces. The fruit is part of the nightshade family of plants which also includes tomatoes. The tomatillos have a papery outer husk, part of the flower (calyx) from which the fruit is borne. Inside, the fruit is round, green to yellow-green and sticky. Peeling off the husk and a quick rinse under the tap reveals the useful fruit. When diced, the interior is pale green and full of tiny edible seeds.

To make a quick breakfast dish that brings variety to your table try this recipe. It is adapted from the South Beach recipe which led me to these amazing little fruits.

Tomatillo Breakfast Scramble

3 tomatillos, husks removed and fruit rinsed
¼ small yellow onion, diced
3 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp water
¼ cup shredded cheeses
1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
Olive or vegetable oil
Salsa and sour cream (optional)

Dice the tomatillos and onions. In a saucepan, heat 1 TBSP of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and tomatillo and sauté for 1-2 minutes until both are tender. Beat eggs in a small bowl, add water and beat again. Add beaten eggs to the pan, stirring until eggs are set. Remove from heat and sprinkle on cheese and cilantro. Mix again and the cheese will melt as you get ready to plate the dish. Serve with a little salsa and sour cream if desired.

The dish has a delicate flavor, so go light on the cilantro and use any salsa sparingly or it will overpower the tomatillos. The cooked tomatillo has a light, fresh flavor and little bit of a sweet citrus tone. Tomatillos are also great in green salsas which are incredibly easy to make.

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