What I Didn’t Know About Tomatillos: Balsamic Braised Fennel Salad

So I said last post that I didn’t know if my tomatillos were the best ever because I hadn’t had a lot of other tomatillos, but if these aren’t the best I don’t know how I’ll react to even better ones. When I made the grilled salsa I figured there was soemthing special about the grilling that made my probably under-ripe tomatillos amazing, but no, they’re just amazing on their own.

I added them raw to a braised fennel salad I made. There are three tomatillo pieces in the picture above, to the right of the cucumbers. The fennel is amazing on its own and the balsamic and honey reduction makes my teeth hurt from delicious licorice sweetness, but I was completely blown away by the tomatillos. They really are a fruit, not a vegetable. They’re a bit sweeter than tomatoes, but still with a bit of acidity…I really don’t know how to describe them. They’re not juicy like most tomatoes, but the flesh has a lot of flavour…maybe somewhere between a plum and an bakeapple. Hmm…yes, that’s not a bad comparison. You need to try an organic tomatillo. If you live in Montreal this means you go to the Plateau, Mile End or Outremont farmers’ market and buy them from the one stall that has them (it’s the same woman and the plateau and mile end markets but it’s a different place, whose quality I cannot guarantee, at the Outremont market). They weren’t great in the sweet balsamic, but they were amazing with sweet onions and garlic in the grilled salsa. They were a nice surprise in this salad, though, because they were a break in the heady sweetness. I’ll give the fennel recipe next post because it’s good, but this is about tomatillos. I think they would be wonderful with meats, but really they should be used in a dessert. I actually think that a tomatillo crisp would be amazing. I’m going to talk to Chef Jean-Paul Giroux about it on Tuesday. He’s the Chef at Cuisine et Dépendence on boul. St-Laurent. I doubt he’s ever cooked with them before but we shall see. I’m going to bring him one as a gift. How cute is that?


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