Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Experimenting with the Tomatillo

Ever since moving up to Richmond Beach we’ve been fortunate to live so close to Central Market which is my new favorite place to go grocery shopping. Central Market has helped expand both Emi and my culinary expertise and has provided us with many delicious and affordable meals over the past few years. For those of you not familiar with Central Market it’s basically an affordable Metropolitan Market or Whole Foods. It has everything I’m looking for in a specialty grocer without the high cost. Emi loves checking out their impressive cheese section before we have people over for parties. The people working there are always very helpful and have given us some great recommendations. I also love Central Market’s homemade, fresh tortillas, amazing frozen pizza dough, and their produce.

In their produce section they always have a great variety of quality fresh fruits and vegetables. I’ve been trying to branch out and try new fruits and vegetables. Recently I stumbled upon the tomatillo. Many of us have had tomatillo salsa at Mexican restaurants, but probably few of us have actually tried cooking with the tomatillo. It’s a pretty cool fruit that looks like a green tomato. There is a difference in flavor and the tomatillo is surrounded by a paper-like husk.

Tomatillos at Central Market

Unhusked and husked tomatillos

I recently made a Bobby Flay recipe from Boy Meets Grill: Shredded Chicken and Tomatillo Tacos with Queso Fresco, that I wanted to share with everyone.

It was really fun and easy to make and I was happy because I was able to utilize my grill.

What you’ll need:
  • 6 tomatillos, husked, washed, and grilled until blackened
  • 1 serrano chili, grilled until blackened
  • Olive oil
  • ½ small red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 C chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 ½ C shredded rotisserie chicken (I prefer to use only the skinless breast meat)
  • 8 blue corn tortillas (I used freshly made whole grain tortillas from Central Market)
  • 1 C crumbled queso fresco

  • Preheat the grill to medium. Blacken the tomatillos and Serrano on the grill. Add the blackened tomatillos and Serrano to a small sauté pan and briefly sauté in a little olive oil on the grates of the grill.
  • Place the tomatillos, Serrano, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and honey in a blender and blend until smooth. Place the tomatillo mixture in a large sauté pan and place on the grates of the grill. Bring the mixture to a simmer, add the chicken, and heat through.
  • Place the tortillas on the grill, and grill for 20 seconds on each side. Spoon the chicken mixture into the tortillas and top with a few tablespoons of queso fresco. Fold the tortillas in half serve immediately.

Grilling the tomatillos and serrano on the grill

The completed shredded chicken and tomatillo sauce

Our guinea pig Pert eating the Shredded Chicken and Tomatillo Tacos with Queso Fresco and Emi’s homemade pico de gallo

This meal is really easy to make and I like how the recipe utilizes the grill for both blackening the tomatillos, but also for heating the rest of the mixture. The tomatillo sauce came out great and was tart, yet sweet with a great spicy after taste. The queso fresco was my favorite part of the meal. This awesome cheese will definitely be going on every taco I make from now on.



  1. If you ever need another food guinea pig, I will totally help you guys out! :) Also, Tyler Florence makes a really good looking (I haven't tried it yet) tomatillo salsa for enchiladas!

  2. I think I saw the Tyler Florence recipe too, I think I had to decide between the two. That recipe did look good.

    If you make it to the Halloween party Emi is planning on making some new comfort food dishes that have you to come try!