Barbara Kafka

Purple Tomatillo Sauce


I just came back from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I found a variety new to me of a vegetable that I thought I knew well. It was a tomatillo that was a dark--almost black--purple under the usual brown husk. When they turn up in our stores as they surely will, they are worth trying.

Choose ones that are slightly soft, really ripe. The taste is deeper than the green ones but still rather acid. I made what was a beautiful to look at and satisfactory tasting salsa or dressing. Having shucked the tomatillos, I cut out any green flesh at the stem and cut them in eighth-inch cubes. I seeded and also cubed a red-ripe jalapeno as well as a quantity about a quarter of that of the tomatillo. I sprinkled this mixture with salt and let it sit about a half hour and stirred in a fistful of chopped cilantro. Instead of serving it as a dip, I added about a tablespoon of good olive oil and poured it on top of hot, freshly steamed-in-the-jacket tomatoes. It was a great first course.

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