Tomatillo's aren't something I was familiar with before we moved to the sunny southwest. They look like giant gooseberries on the outside, resemble green tomatoes inside their papery husk and I had absolutely no clue what to do with the darn things. Thankfully, those days are gone.
Take this fresh green salsa for example from Sunset Magazine courtesy of myrecipes.com. Hit the link to see the official version but notice I've made a few changes just because I'm ornery (see recipe below). It's full of mystery tomatillos, poblano chiles and cilantro - all whizzed up in the food processor along with onion, sour cream and chicken broth. Thickened with a beurre manié simply flour incorporated into melted butter, after the sauce is heated and allowed to bloom the tomatillos lose much of their tartness and the sauce becomes a perfect poaching liquid for firm fish fillets.
We used cod but feel free to use halibut as called for in the recipe, or salmon or tilapia or even shrimp! As you can see, we had our fish with a side of rice to soak up some of the incredible sauce, along with a garnish of Matouk's hot sauce. Hey wouldn't you be surprised if we had a meal without the stuff. Yup, so would we.
Incidentally in case you're wondering - the poblano pepper also known as pasilla, is a green pepper with a very mild flavor and almost no heat quotient so don't be worried about having 2 of them in the sauce. Honestly, you hardly know they're present as far as heat goes, but there's really no substitute for their flavor.
(Note, photo's of tomatillos and poblano pepper aka pasilla are from Wiki)
Fish Baked in Fresh Green Salsa (from JBug’s Kitchen adapted from Sunset Magazine via myrecipes.com)
4 fish fillets approx. 6 ounces each (I used cod)
Salt and coarse ground pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
3 small tomatillos (3/4 cup chopped)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 fresh poblano peppers, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro plus some for garnish
1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper as required
Melt butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir in flour, combining to form a paste then transfer paste to food processor. Remove husks from tomatillos, wash to remove stickiness on the outside and dry well. Roughly chop and add to food processor along with onion, poblanos, cilantro, chicken stock and sour cream. Process until sauce is smooth. Transfer to a microwave safe bowl, add lime juice and heat for 3 minutes, stirring often until mixture comes to a boil.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 375. Wash and dry fish fillets and place into a casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour heated sauce over top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with rice on the side. Garnish with cilantro. Makes 4 servings.
A year ago - Chicken with Maple Mustard Glaze and Curried Rice
Two year's ago - Viva Italia, Lasagne Bolognese
Three year's ago - Shrimp Cakes with Avocado Grapefruit Salad