What to Make With Purple Tomatillos

tomatillos in newspaper

When I was around 11 years old, a little thing called purple (and sometimes green, or blue…) ketchup was introduced into my plebeian, preteen world. At the time, I was fairly convinced that with this invention was the peak of culinary experiences. The ketchup tasted essentially the same as the regular ol’ stuff, but with a generous dose of blue dye number 50.

A decade later, I still find myself loving vibrantly colored foods, albeit naturally occurring ones. Heirloom tomatoes, fairytale eggplant and candy cane beets have me running through the farmers market with childlike glee, and my latest favorite ingredient is the purple tomatillo. This slightly-sweet fruit can sometimes be confused for heirloom tomatoes, but has a husk just like its green counterpart.

purple tomatillo
Tomatillos are usually turned into salsa. Photo by Emily Ziemski.

Tomatillos are usually a popular salsa component thanks to their a mild, lemony flavor and Google searches for tomatillo recipes yield hundreds of different salsa, chile and sopa verdes. It seems that tomatillos have become a one-trick pony (at least online), and quite frankly, they’re being sold short.

A little additional research concluded that there’s no harm in eating tomatillos raw. Besides the slight stickiness, purple tomatillos are the perfect candidate for a raw summer salad. They’re a softer fruit, so adding something crunchy like watermelon makes for a great textural combination. A little (or a lot) of cheese, fresh herbs and seasoning are all you need for a a quick end-of-summer fruit salad.

purple tomatillos in a watermelon salad
Besides the slight stickiness, purple tomatillos are the perfect candidate for a raw summer salad. Photo by Emily Ziemski

Purple Tomatillo Salad

Serves 2

4 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and thinly sliced
4 watermelon slices (If you’re able to grill it, we recommend that you do for at lest 4 minutes on each side)
2 oz. dry feta cheese
Olive oil
1 bunch of cilantro, washed and chopped
1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

For one serving, place 2 slices of watermelon on a plate and top with half of the tomatillos, crumbled feta and cilantro. Drizzle olive oil liberally over salad and garnish with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime. 

Emily Ziemski

Emily is a freelance writer, food stylist and prolific devourer. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, her career has varied from working the line at a two-Michelin restaurant to her most recent work: writing the 2014 SXSW Cookbook. Her passions include iced coffee and quenelles.

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