Salsa Verde Two Ways: Roasted and with Ground Cherries

During the last weeks of October, leading up to our Halloween weekend snowstorm, we were harvesting ground cherries and tomatillos in considerable volume, a quart of tomatillos a week, or more if you could use them. Also in abundance at our CSA were ground cherries. Sometimes referred to as husk cherries, these are sweet-tart fruits (vegetables?) that look like miniature tomatillos, and are harvested when they fall off the vine (hence the moniker ground cherries).  Earlier this year, I cooked them into a jam first as- is and then a second batch infused with the piney flavor of rosemary.  

 At the end of October, I also had a giant poblano pepper plant in my garden, so huge that I nicknamed it the “great ancho-lada,” ancho being the dried version of poblano. It was five feet tall and had at least two dozen peppers on it after I’d already harvested at least a dozen. (It came from Seed Savers Exchange.) Right before the storm hit, everything left on the vine was harvested and stored in the refrigerator.

 What to do with such simpatico ingredients a couple of weeks later? I considered canning another batch of tomatillo salsa but I already have more in the pantry than I can imagine eating. I decided instead to make two versions of Mexican salsa verde: one roasted and the other gently poached on top of the stove, combined with ground cherries that were poached and then roasted on a baking sheet to deepen the flavor and diminish the liquidity. The latter method was so successful that I might try it on the canned tomatillo sauce this winter since, in order to gain the proper pH level for canning, the canned sauce contains a good amount of lemon juice.

The combination of ground cherries and tomatillos was perfect with a bowl of chips (my husband’s obsession), and the roasted salsa verde found its way into quesadillas and enchiladas.  

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde

1 quart firm tomatillos, husked and rinsed

Vegetable oil

Salt

1 medium onion, peeled

1 clove garlic

1 jalapeno pepper (or more to taste)

1-2 small young poblano peppers (optional)

Cilantro leaves, torn

Lime juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Halve the tomatillos, toss them in a little oil and salt and place them cut side down at one end of a heavy baking sheet. Halve the onion lengthwise and slice it crosswise. Cut the garlic in half lengthwise. Toss the onion and garlic with vegetable oil and salt and place in their own zone on the baking sheet. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, seed them (being careful not to touch them with your hands, using a sharp knife and a thin-tined carving fork).  Sprinkle on a couple of drops of oil and place them cut side down on the baking sheet. (Since my poblanos were tiny, I roasted them whole and cut off the flesh after cooking.)

Roast the vegetables or about 15 minutes, keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn, removing them to the bowl of a wood processor as they are done. Process them to a smooth sauce and set aside to cool. When cool, taste for seasoning. Serve with torn cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

Salsa Verde with Ground Cherries

1 quart firm tomatillos, husked and rinsed

1 medium onion, peeled

1 clove garlic

1 jalapeno pepper (or more to taste), seeded

1-2 small young poblano peppers (optional), seeded

1 pt ground cherries, husked and rinsed

Water

Cilantro leaves, torn

Lime juice

Additional hot pepper (optional)

Cut the tomatillos in half and coarsely chop the onion, garlic, and peppers. Place in a saucepan and add a water to come up on the vegetables about 1/3 of the way. Place the ground cherries in another saucepan and add water to come up on the ground cherries about 1/3 of the way. Bring both pots to a boil on top of the stove, lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are broken down, about 10 minutes. Mash the ground cherries a little. When cooled, combine the two pots of ingredients and chill.  When serving, add torn cilantro leaves and a squeeze of lime juice.

Optional reduction step: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place a baking pan in the over. After the ground cherries are cooked, scrape them onto the hot baking pan and cook, stirring occasionally, to evaporate excess liquid and add a roasted depth of flavor.

Categories: Appetizers, Ground cherry, Husk cherry, Salsa, TomatilloTags: ,

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s