Grilled Tomatillo Salsa, and News of a Continued Fall Fest!

by paige on September 1, 2010

THANKS TO ALL THE passionate cooks, gardeners, writers and eaters who played along during our Summer Fest this year, we’ve decided to keep the fun going. All fall, every Wednesday, we’ll be featuring a new ingredient from our fall gardens, and I hope you’ll be cooking, reading, writing and eating right along with us.

This week, it’s peppers, another of the vegetables (yes, true, they’re fruits, botanically speaking) that fall into the “polarizing” category, meaning folks either love or loathe them. In my family, everyone, save me, is in the “loathe” camp when it comes to bell peppers, and they eat chiles only if they’re well processed into a spicy sauce. (Tabasco, yes; chiles rellenos, sadly, NO.)

Maybe it’s just as well that my family is indifferent, because peppers don’t grow very well for me. I find that every year, I am lucky to coax to or three off a single plant, at most. Tomatillos, on the other hand, have exploded in my garden, both when planted and when they’ve just appeared as volunteers. And, in a stroke of luck, my whole family loves fresh salsa. I use them, whatever sad jalapenos I may have been able to harvest, some sweet onion and garlic to make a grilled green salsa that my family will eat, on everything from chips and quesadillas to grilled chicken or fish. We also love it on carnitas, the succulent, juicy Mexican roast pork, and often make a whole dinner party around carnitas, rice and beans with fresh salsa and guacamole alongside. Margaritas optional, but welcome.

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa

I make this on a ridged cast iron grill pan, but you could do it on the barbecue or just a cast iron skillet with equally delicious results. Proportions are suggested, but you can adjust them to your liking, and of course, cilantro-loathers can omit it.

1 lb. tomatillos, husks removed
1 large sweet onion, cut into thick (1/2 inch) slices
4 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
1 or 2 jalapeno chiles, halved lengthwise, and seeded
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, or more or less to taste
juice of one lime
salt to taste

Heat the grill pan on high heat until it’s smoking. Using tongs, place the tomatillos on the hot surface of the pan, and grill on every side until grill marks appear and the fruits are softened. This can take about ten minutes, and you may have to do them in two batches, depending upon the size of your pan. Remove the grilled tomatillos to a bowl, and repeat the grilling process with the onions, garlic and jalapenos.

When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop them all and combine. Add the lime juice, cilantro and salt to taste. Serve room temperature or cold as an accompaniment to chips, quesadillas, burritos, grilled meats, or anything you like. This would probably make your shoes taste fresh and delicious.

So now it’s your turn: Have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes? You can contribute in various ways, big or small.

Write a whole post, or a comment—whatever you wish. It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid. No pressure, just delicious. The possibilities:

Simply leave your tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below a Fall Fest post on my blog, and then go visit my collaborators and do the same.

The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.


Sept 8: Garlic
Sept 15: White (or colorful “white”…but not sweet) Potatoes
Sept 22: Spinach
Sept 29: Apples
Oct 6: Fall Salads

Oct 13: Pumpkin + Winter Squash
Oct 20: Pears
Oct 27: “Mad Stash” (as in what you’re shoving in freezer/jars/dehydrator, etc.)

Nov 3: Root veggies
Nov 10: Brassicas: incl. Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Cabbage or other
Nov 17: Sweet Potatoes
Nov 24: Bounty to Be Grateful For

And in case I forget what week it is, won’t somebody remind me on Twitter? Thanks. We’ll be talking it up there, too.

Check out my fellow-Fest-ers contributiosn for this week using the links below.

  • Alison at Food2:
    Making Hot Pepper-Infused Tequila
  • Michelle at Cooking Channel: A Peck of Perfect Pepper Recipes
  • Nicole at Pinch My Salt: Pickled Serrano Peppers
  • Kirsten at the FN Dish: Chiles Rellenos and More Stuffed Peppers
  • Liz at Healthy Eats: 10 Ways To Eat Sweet Peppers
  • Margaret at A Way to Garden: Oven-roasted peppers, and freezing how-to
  • Caroline at The Wright Recipes: Homemade Harissa & Sweet and Spicy Peperonata
  • The Gilded Fork: Dossier and recipes on peppers spicy and sweet
  • Paige at The Sister Project: Grilled Tomatillo Salsa with Jalapenos
  • Caron at San Diego Foodstuff: Consuelo’s Hot Chile Sauce and Hatch Chiles
  • Food Network UK: It’s Chili Weather
  • Cate at Sweetnicks: Summer Panzanella
  • Alana at Eating from the Ground Up: Homemade hot sauce, and why gloves are a good idea
  • { 10 comments… read them below or add one }

    Sarah September 1, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I’m so excited that summer turns into Fall Fest! We’re big pepper lovers in our home and are enjoying them fresh as well as canning them for fall and winter hamburgers, chilis, chile rellenos, soups and stews.

    After living in New Mexico for four years for college, I fell in love with Hatch Green Chile and in this post show you how to oven roast them as well as can them for the pantry (and directions for freezing are included as well)

    And one of our favorite condiments when we eat Mexican food is jalapenos en escabeche. I make mine lacto-fermented and raw and, in the fridge, they last forever! We’re finishing a jar that I made up last year! The carrots are my favorite while the jalapenos are my husband’s:

    Thank you for hosting Fall Fest! I can’t wait to read the other participants!


    Naseer September 1, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Unlike you, we had a cornucopia of peppers this year, and fortunately we love them! Maybe it was something to do with the heat wave that blew through the Northeast this summer. Last year we had something closer to your harvest.

    Here’s a recipe that we posted on Green Thumb Geeks earlier when the pepper harvest was booming:

    Cheddar-Stuffed Jalapeno Burger

    Mary Schier September 1, 2010 at 11:10 am

    This red pepper relish gets me through the long Minnesota winters. It is great on anything bland (fish, squash soup) but is also wonderful poured on cream cheese and spread on crackers.

    Prerna@IndianSimmer September 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Can you believe I’ve never tried using tomatillo at home? We do have some wonderful recipes in India for them though, but still! I think a salsa should be a good start for me :-) Thanks for sharing!
    Here’s something I did with my peppers

    Kim September 1, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    I recently made two pepper-based sauces (one red, one green–with tomatillos) over at Flexitarian Foodie–check it out…

    Naseer @ GreenThumbGeeks September 1, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    One more contribution for Summer Fest on Green Thumb Geeks by Emily: Jalapeno Poppers!

    Purple Cook September 2, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Fall Fest:
    I made this pepper dish last week and dropped it on the floor and ruined it with shattered glass. And I was so looking forward to eating it. I tried again last night and really enjoyed my dinner.

    Pesto Sausage and Peppers with Cous Cous

    One Hungry Mama September 2, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Isn’t it exciting that Summer (Fall!) Fest will continue through autumn. Couldn’t be happier.

    Thanks for this salsa recipe. Looks delicious!

    For Summer Fest this week, I posted a round up of One Hungry Mama pepper recipes including a Red Pepper Walnut Dip, Grilled Tuna & Cubanelle Peppers w/ Olive & Caper Vinaigrette, Roasted Poblano Cream Sauce, and more.


    Kathleen September 2, 2010 at 7:26 pm
    Lana September 2, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    We have tomatillos year round in Southern California and I stardet making my own Salsa Verde a couple of months ago. So much better than the bottled version. And your kitchen smells so good in the process. I have never tried making them on the grill pan – always in the oven. Thanks for an idea!
    My recipe is about Stuffed, Battered, and Pan-Fried Red Peppers.

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