Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tomatillos, The Misunderstood Fruit


Let's talk about this Sassy Fruit.  We all know about tomatoes.  I had not known about Tomatillos in my early years (whilst I was sleeping), but I have grown to appreciate these tart babies in my later year.  I am a big fan of Mexican Cuisine even though I cannot handle the heat that many of the dishes dish out.  I am a wimp!

Again, thanks to my old job, I was able to to a couple towns where I had ample opportunities to try mexican & southwest cuisine: San Antonio and Los Cruces.  I really enjoyed the food on these trips.  My particular favorites included moles and mild green chili dishes.  I became aware of the Verde sauces that were, in some cases, milder than the Rojo sauces.  Tomatillos were often a major ingredient in these Verde sauces and salsas.

In the spring of 2013 I came across a Tomatillo plant while looking for things to stick in the garden.  That plant went crazy last summer and yielded a bunch of fruit.  I loved the sauces I was able to make with these.

This past spring I was very happy to find another Tomatillo plant to add to the Veggie Garden.  Unfortunately this plant was a big disappointment: No Fruit!  The plant grew like crazy and had plenty of flowers but nothin' was happening (fertilization-wise).  My Zucchini plant was also very stubborn in this way.  I had researched and was able to "manually" fertilize that plant.  It was fun for somebody.  As for the tomatillo, I just left it be.

Finally, on July 19th one tomatillo appeared.

And now, about 7 weeks later, there are over 20 tomatillos.

What gives?

Whilst I was preparing for this blaug entry, I came across this weird characteristic of the plant.  I quote from Wikipedia here, "Tomatillo plants are highly self-incompatible."  Huh?  Does that mean they can't stand the sight of themselves?  Self loathing?

Self-Incompatability in plants apparently means there is a mechanism that prevents "self-fertilization."  When I first read that, It gave me the shivers!  What would that be like for humans? GEEZ!

Anyway, I wanted to share this recipe...

My most recent use of this Fun Fruit is Tomatillo and Sweet Potato Soup.  It sounded very interesting when I heard about it so I found a couple recipes online and came up with my own version.  It was GREAT!  Even Dottie thought so.  No, Really.

Tomatillo and Sweet Potato Soup

7 tomatillos, husked and halved
5 large cloves garlic
6 large cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 yellow onion, chopped
2  medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1" cubes
2 C vegetable broth
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 C water (depending on how thick you want soup)
salt & pepper (to taste)
smoked paprika
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped, for garnish

1. In a large roasting pan, combine the tomatillos, garlic, and tomatoes and drizzle with about 2 T of EVOO. Then roast in the oven at 450° for about 35 minutes.

2. While those are roasting, peel and chop up the sweet potatoes. Put the 3C broth in a large pot, and then boil the sweet potatoes in the broth for about 45 minutes.

3. As your sweet potatoes and tomatillos are cooking, sauté onion in a little bit of EVOO for about 5 minutes or until golden.

5. Once the tomatillos, garlic, and tomatoes are done, quickly blend in a blender or food processor.  I added liquid from potatoes.

6. Add the blended tomatillo mixture and the sautéd onion into the pot with the sweet potatoes, and and season with spices, salt and pepper. Let mixture simmer for about ten minutes, then mash up the sweet potato in the pot with a potato masher. At this point you can add more water if you'd like a thinner consistency. Additionally, if you'd like a smoother consistency you can blend everything with an immersion blender or transfer everything to a regular blender. I used an immersion blender.

This link is to the recipe that I drew most of mine from:

If you are interested in other verde sauces that I mentioned let me know.

And I can't resist sharing a Lucy picture:


  1. George, You should be on the Food Network, maybe a Vegan show??


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