Cinco de Mayo

Well tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo. So many people I know love to go out and celebrate drinking Margarita’s and eating lots of great Mexican food. But if you’re not up to going out why not celebrate at home with your own great fiesta?

Tomorrow night I’ll be fixing Grilled Shrimp with a Tomatillo Sauce, Grilled Beef Fajitas and a kicked up Coleslaw. Of course we can’t forget the Margarita’s.

If you’ve never made a tomatillo sauce you have to try this. It’s simple and delicious! But first let me share with you a few facts about the Tomatillo that maybe you didn’t know.

Tomatillos are a staple in Mexican cuisine and the key ingredient in Salsa Verde. Sometimes referred to as green tomatoes, Tomatillos are similar to tomatoes, but feature a papery outer husk. Roasted or boiled, then pureed, Tomatillos have a vibrant tart-lemony-grassy taste that adds a bright note to salsas, enchiladas and other Latin-inspired dishes.

Whether hosting a fiesta or getting together with family, home cooks can add a delicious Mexican flair to dishes with the bright and tangy Tomatillo, currently available at local supermarkets.

Tomatillo means “little tomato” in Spanish. Cultivated since Aztec times, Tomatillos are closely related to Cape Gooseberries and Chinese Lantern Plants with their beautiful papery calyxes that cover the glossy green fruits like little lampshades.

Tomatillos range in size like tomatoes, but their greenish-yellow skin and flesh is much firmer, less juicy and contains very small seeds. They feature a slightly acidic taste with a bright, lemony flavor, but they are mild with no spiciness or peppery heat.

Select Tomatillos that are firm and dry, with clean, close-fitting husks that show no blackness or mold. The fruits should be hard; they do not give like tomatoes. Store loosely wrapped in your refrigerator’s vegetable drawer for up to 2 weeks.

When ready to prepare, remove the husk (a slightly sticky residue underneath the husk is normal), chop up the fruit and boil or puree until tender. Or, roast husked fruits whole in the oven or on the barbecue.

When combined with vinegar, onion and a bit of spicy chile peppers, Tomatillos make a divine Salsa Verde (“Green Salsa”). Add to that some fresh cilantro and roasted corn, and you’ve got a lip-smacking multi-purpose sauce, dressing and dip. (If you find the flavor too tart, mellow it out with a touch of honey or sugar.) Use homemade Tomatillo sauce for enchiladas, Tex-Mex casseroles, tacos or quesadillas. (Although Tomatillos can be eaten raw, most preparations involve some amount of heat for tenderizing the firm flesh.)

To find out more about Tomatillos or other vegetables or fruits in season check out Frieda’s. It’s a wonderful site with a wealth of information.

Here’s a great recipe for Grilled Shrimp with a Tomatillo Sauce.

Grilled Shrimp with Tomatillo Sauce
Serves 6

1 pound tomatillos, husks removed (tohm-ah-tee-oh)

1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon seeded and minced jalapeno
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

24 jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder

Prepare grill.

1. Cook tomatillos in a large pot of boiling salted water about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to blender or food processor. Add onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Process sauce until smooth.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium sauté pan. Add tomatillo sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, set aside to cool.

3. Toss shrimp with remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder, toss to coat shrimp. Grill shrimp over medium hot coals or gas grill for about 2 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Ladle sauce onto 6 plates. Arrange shrimp on top of sauce.

Whether you decide to celebrate this festive holiday or not you still have to try out this recipe. It’s really good!

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  1. Grilled Shrimp with Tomatillos sounds awesome!

  2. It is good and the shrimp have a bit of a kick to them. If you try the recipe I hope you like it.

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