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Made in Temecula – Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo Salsa. Photo by Patrick Maue.

Our trip to the Old Town Temecula Farmer’s Market each week is always a highlight. The air is savory, the energy is festive, and the local produce abounds.  Our first stop is the Sage Mountain Farms booth to pick up the Inland Empire CSA box and see what treasures are in store for us.  The box was heavy this week: overflowing with melons, greens, zucchini, citrus and more.  Nestled in with the gorgeous greens, we found our gems: perfect green tomatillos.

The tomatillo is a small green tomato with a papery husk and a tart flavor that is responsible for the bright notes in most Mexican sauces and salsas.  While tomatillos are native to Mexico, they are widely available in California markets as well.

My partner in all things culinary, Chef Andrea from Ava James Catering, suggested we grab some jalapenos and limes in addition to the tomatillos, garlic, onions and cilantro already available in the CSA box.  With those base ingredients, she knew a Roasted Tomatillo Salsa would be the perfect compliment to any summer menu.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

  • 18-20 tomatillos
  • 2-3 jalapenos
  • 1 large yellow onionroasted tomatillos
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large handful of cilantro
  • 1 corn tortilla
  • 2 cups chicken (or veggie) stock
  • Tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp pepper (I use ground white)
  • Juice of 1 lime

Soak the tomatillos in cold water so they’ll easily slip out of their husks. Peel and quarter the onion. Place peeled tomatillos and onion with whole jalapeños in a preheated, dry cast iron skillet and toss until a nice char is achieved and the tomatillos just start to break down. Roasting the tomatillos will impart them with a smokey flavor which balances out their natural tartness.  Toss garlic cloves in the pan for the last few minutes of roasting.

Place roasted tomatillo mixture in a blender or food processor with tortilla, cilantro, lime juice salt and pepper, cumin and 1 cup of the stock. Blend until smooth adding the additional cup of stock as needed for desired consistency.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

We served this salsa over grilled fish and rounded out our meal with a cherry tomato and onion salad.  It would also taste great over chicken enchiladas or straight out of the bowl with tortilla chips.

The Inland Empire CSA is a wonderful way to support local farmers while eating fresh, locally grown, organic produce.  We have found that the quality and flavor of the produce far surpasses anything we could find in a traditional grocery store.  For more information on the program, please visit their website www.inlandempirecsa.com.

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