Instant Expert: Cooking with Tomatillos

With their bright, zesty flavor, tomatillos are the ideal ingredient to add dimension to your dishes.

Zesty and bright, tomatillos might seem exotic with their unexpected husk and bright green color, but this versatile fruit is the ideal ingredient to add dimension to almost any dish.

What they are: Often mistaken for underripe tomatoes, tomatillos are a member of the nightshade family and are a relative of the tomato, known for their fresh tart flavor. They've been a staple in Mexican and Central American cooking for centuries and are a key ingredient in their green sauces, lending both a bright color and flavor. Tomatillos are surrounded by a papery husk and depending on their level of ripeness can be green, purple, red or yellow; a yellow hue usually indicates the tomatillo is overripe. Red and purple varieties have a sweeter flavor than the tart green varieties.

Where to find them: Tomatillos are widely available at both large grocery stores as well as specialty markets. Look for green (unless you're after a red or purple variety), unblemished fruits that are firm and completely fill out their husk.

How to eat them: Salsa verde is kind of a given and it would be a shame to overlook this versatile sauce, but there are so many other delicious dishes you can whip up with these unassuming fruits. From ceviche to soups and everything in between, here are a few tomatillo recipes to give a try:


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