Easy & Versatile Tomatillo Sauce

The tomatillo, a member of the gooseberry family, is distinguished by its papery husk, and is a staple of the Mexican kitchen.
They’re readily available – mostly – and the fall harvest is bringing them on strong, especially from our locally farmers and urban garden plots. They’re easy to grow and will easily reseed themselves should you let them go to over winter. They can be used roasted, boiled or raw, in salsas, guacamoles, moles and cooked sauces. Simply remove the husk and rinse the tomatillo of any residual stickiness before using. (If there are no sources for fresh in your region, you can resort to canned but only when push comes to shove).

This sauce can be used for various proteins from eggs and cheese, to firm white fish, grilled chicken, pork or prawns. It’s dead easy to make. Let’s get started, shall we?

1 pound (450 gr. ) tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
4 serrrano chiles, whole
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 to 3 Tbsp. cilantro, roughly chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. light olive oil
salt to taste

Put the tomatillos and whole chiles into a saucepan. Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer until both the chiles and tomatillos are soft – but not falling apart – they both will turn an olive green colour.

Remove from heat and scoop the tomatillos carefully out with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Reserve 1/3 of a cup of the cooking water for the blender. Add the chiles to the blender – stems and seeds removed – garlic and pulse until almost smooth. Add the tomatillos and blend briefly, making a fairly smooth sauce. Add cooking water if necessary to achieve the right consistency.
* Hot Tip: When removing the seeds from a cooked chile, use a teaspoon for easy removal.

Over med-high heat, heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the sauce all at once and reduce, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens and seasons. Adjust for salt and keep the sauce warm until ready to cook your protein. Add the chopped cilantro right before serving.
For queso fresco, cut thick-ish slices, because you want the cheese to hold up on the grill and not fall apart.

Once it shows nice grill marks, remove to the sauce on the stove to heat through, or alternatively, deftly flip the queso and grill on the other side until heated through.
Ready to plate.

Options Abound
More on the sauce’s versatility

*Once the sauce has seasoned, add in whisked eggs and let cook to make a delicious salsa-soaked version of scrambled eggs. Serve with hot corn tortillas and grilled sausages.
*Use the seasoned sauce underneath grilled firm white fish such as halibut or rock cod.
*When using chicken, try tenders or a chicken breast. Grill and finish cooking the meat in the sauce.
*Grill spot prawns or octopus
*Grilled pork chops.

Leave a Reply