When tomatillos, the Mexican husked green tomatoes, are in season and easily available, it is worth buying them in quantity and cooking with them, and eating them, every day. Their bright, zesty flavour is an absolute joy and while the tinned ones are useful in winter and work very acceptably in cooked sauces and dishes, for some recipes it is absolutely essential to use the fresh ones. They freeze well so get in a good stock and then enjoy them throughout the year. Tomatillos which have been frozen are perfect for a guacamole, a salsa or a dressing, as in the recipe below.
This very typical salad partners the liveliness of ripe tomatillos with rich, smooth avocado, chillies and fragrant coriander, all characteristic Mexican ingredients – and accompanied by totopos or tortilla chips with which to scoop it up, it is a vibrant taste of Mexico. It can also be used as a sauce to jazz up grilled fish, chicken, roasted vegetables, etc – just dice the avocado quite small.
Be sure to choose really ripe tomatillos; they should be virtually bursting out of their husks and any immature specimens will be mouth puckering and lacking in the tomatillo’s distinctive fruitiness. Strip off the husks and rinse the fruits’ sticky surface under cold running water.
Avocado in tomatillo sauce – Aguacate en salsa de tomatillo
125 g/4 1/2 oz tomatillos, husked and rinsed – frozen are fine, defrost completely
15 g/1/2 oz red chillies, as hot or as mild as you like, deseeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
15 g/1/2 oz red onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
15 g/1/2 oz fresh coriander/cilantro, coarsely chopped
30 ml/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium ripe avocadoes
Tortilla chips, to serve
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Blend the tomatillos in a food processor until smooth. Add the chillies, garlic, red onions, coriander, olive oil and some seasoning and process for just a few seconds, to break all the ingredients down without puréeing them. Check the seasoning.
The sauce can be prepared up to this point several hours in advance and refrigerated. Bring back to room temperature and stir well as it tends to separate.
Peel and stone the avocadoes. With a small sharp knife, cut the flesh into pieces approximately 1 cm/1/2 inch in size and place in a small salad bowl. Carefully fold in the tomatillo sauce.
Serve immediately with totopos or tortilla chips for scooping.
This salad is at its best as soon as it has been assembled as the avocadoes tend to go mushy if left to sit around for any length of time.
Chilli and Chocolate Stars of the Mexican Cocina by Isabel Hood is available from Amazon.co.uk
Just The Two of Us Entertaining Each Other by Isabel Hood is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk