¡Órale Tomatillo!

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By Heidi Lewis

Praise the salsa and pass some please! Salsa, as in a combination of chilies,  spices, and fruits such as tomatoes, tomatillos, or mangos has graced tables  across The Americas since the time of the Incas and the Aztecs. Food market  analysts report that salsa has surpassed ketchup in the modern North American  grocery cart. But those numbers don’t even count the fresh salsa being made at  home. Salsa comes in unlimited variations. It makes everything from tortilla chips  and eggs to meat and fish taste better. Plus, its great to say, as discussed in a  Seinfeld episode:

GEORGE: "Salsa is now the number one condiment in America."
JERRY: "You know why? Because people like to say salsa. "Excuse me, do you  have any salsa?" "We need more salsa." "Where is the salsa? No salsa?"

Tomatilos are the main contributor to green salsa, or Salsa Verde. Tomatillos, aka Mexican Husk Tomatoes. These little gems look  gift wrapped in their signature husks. Tomatillos have been a part of South  American cuisines since the Aztecs cultivated the veggie around 800 BC. The  Aztec root word for tomato and tomatillo was tomati meaning "round and plump."

This heirloom has gradually made its way North and is now grown locally.

In the Red Light-Green Light game at the condiment table, Salsa Verde is  often the milder one, but it can also be made piquant with hot chilies.

Roasted  tomatillos add a lot of body and flavor to sauces, sautés, and stews. Since  tomatillos’ flavor leans toward the fruity side, it pares well with lime or lemon  tastes. One little tomatillo is only 11 calories, yet contains 91 mg of Potassium,  4mg Vitamin C, and is high in Calcium and Folic Acid. ¿Que bueno, no?


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