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Big Sky Bites: Salsa Verde

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By Bella Butler EBS STAFF

The last few weeks, the string beans at the Big Sky Farmers Market have been flourishing. The purple and patterned vegetables make the limp green ones at the grocery look very much like a consolation prize. I’ve taken a bundle of these beans home with me most Wednesdays since mid-July, happily incorporating them into most meals and enjoying crafting new ways to eat the slender gems.

It’s such a privilege to allow fresh, seasonal ingredients to dictate our meals; a privilege I will never take for granted after surviving 20-plus years of Montana’s nine-month winters. Eating seasonal foods grown close to home supports local growers, limits fossil fuels used to transport food in a false climate and of course brings fresher, tastier and sometimes more nutritious food to our tables.

Farmers markets are a great way to source these ingredients, and so is Community Supported Agriculture. CSA boxes are often subscription-based and arrive weekly.

I was delighted to find one of my favorite summer treasures in my friend’s CSA box this week—tomatillos. Tomatillos resemble green tomatoes and like a tomato, they’re classified as a fruit. In addition to their bright color, their distinguishable by a thin, paper-like leaf wrapping that protects them from disease.

Tomatillos are milder than tomatoes and are the key ingredient in salsa verde, which is what we chose to do with ours. Salsa verde is one of those things that takes little effort but produces culinary wonder. Its flavors are complex and refreshing—perfect for the hot end of summer.

We made a full batch of the salsa and used it to top halibut and quinoa, tacos and breakfast bowls, but the uses for this sauce are endless.

Here’s how to make it:

Making salsa verde is a great way to use your farm-fresh tomatillos. PHOTO BY BELLA BUTLER

Yield: approx. 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds of tomatillos
  • ½ a large, white onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic (if you have a garlic affinity like me)
  • 2 serrano peppers
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Turn your oven broiler on high.
  2. Peel the husks from the tomatillos—be warned, they will be sticky.
  3. Peel your garlic cloves.
  4. Slice the tomatillos in half and place them cut-side down on a foil-lined sheet pan. Place them under the broiler for up to 5-10 minutes, or until just the peak of the tomatillo mound is charring black.
  5. Add the garlic cloves to the pan when the tomatillos have about 3 minutes left under the broiler.
  6. Let your tomatillos and garlic cool for about 10 minutes before adding them to the blender.
  7. Blend tomatillos and garlic with lime juice, serranos, onion, cilantro and salt and pepper until the consistency is pretty smooth. Taste as you blend and add more of any ingredients as needed. 
  8. Enjoy!

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