August means local abundance. Every year I make it through my first few months of CSA and the farmers market season, excited about the fresh, local vegetables I was waiting for all winter.
Local storage vegetables are great…but they get old by the time June rolls around.
July is when things really start to roll. Local corn starts to come in, green beans are in season, and the variety at the market starts to pick up.
And then, suddenly, TOMATOES.
The chalkboard at my CSA says things like “take five pounds”, “take six pounds”, or one glorious year, “take eight pounds”. And it’s not just that week - the entire month of August is like that. Week after week, pounds of tomatoes.
And, since tomatillos and hot peppers come in at the same time, salsa is the obvious way to use them up. This year the tomatillos were a little sparse - only a pint of them - so I combined them with tomatoes for a tomato-tomatillo salsa.
Recipe: Grilled Tomato-Tomatillo Salsa
Adapted From: Rick Bayless, Salsas That Cook
Cooking time: 8 minutes
- Grill (I love my Weber Summit, but it’s overkill for a batch of salsa at medium heat. Now, if I’m using the rest of the grill for fajitas, then I’m actually using the extra space.)
- Grill Pan (not absolutely necessary, but it helps keep from chasing vegetables all over the grill, or losing them through the grate)
- Food processor
- 1 ½ pounds fresh tomatoes
- 1 ½ pounds fresh tomatillos, husk removed and sticky coating rinsed off
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 2 cloves garlic, still in their peel
- ¼ cup cilantro
- salt to taste
1. Preheat the grill for direct medium heat
Preheat the grill, then set it up for direct medium heat. On my Weber Summit, I preheat the grill with all burners on high for 15 minutes, brush the grate clean with my grill brush, then turn the burners down to medium.
2. Grill the vegetables over direct medium heat
Put the tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos, and garlic cloves on the grill over direct medium heat. (This is easier of you have the grill pan - put everything on the pan, and plop it on top of the grill grate). Grill until blackened in spots on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip everything and grill until the other side is blackened and the tomatoes and tomatillos are softened, about 4 more minutes. Remove the vegetables from the grill. (Again, if working with a grill pan, just pick it up - but watch out for drips through the holes in the grate.)
3. Process the salsa until smooth
Peel the garlic, then drop it through the tube of a running food processor, and let it process until it is completely minced. Turn off the processor, stem the jalapenos, then put the jalapenos and cilantro in the food processor and process in one second pulses until minced. Pour in the tomatoes, tomatillos, and any juices, turn the processor on, and process until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Process the salsa longer than you think you should. I usually wind up with one stubborn tomatillo that won’t break down like the others. Of course, I don’t notice it in the food processor - I notice it as I pour the salsa into a bowl to serve, and I have to fish it out. Or pour the salsa back into the food processor and process it some more. (And by “pour the salsa back into the food processor”, I mean “pour the salsa back into the food processor…and down the sides, and onto the counter, and make a big mess.”)
- If you can choose your tomatoes, get Roma tomatoes - they’re less watery than regular tomatoes, and make a thicker salsa.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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