The first time I had a tomatillo was in my English class freshman year of college. One day, a classmate walked in with a package from a friend containing a tiny basket of ripe tomatillos. Her friend worked on a farm and had wanted to send her a taste of the fall harvest. She was generous enough to share, and to explain that you have to remove the husk. I popped one in my mouth and was delighted! Tomatillos smell earthy and sweet, and they have a sunny taste that’s perfect to usher in spring. Raw, they are crisp and tangy like a kiwi-tomato hybrid; roasted and made into salsa verde, they taste great as a dip or a sauce to spice up chicken or chili.
Salsa verde is a sauce that is cheap and quick to make. Tomatillos are fairly common, especially in markets located in neighborhoods with a larger Latino population. I bought mine at the produce market near where I work, which has a varied selection of ethnic food and some great exotic produce for much lower prices than you’d find at a chain. A 1.5 pound bag of tomatillos that I bought for $1.49 made about three pints of salsa. Husking the tomatillos is easy to do in ten minutes or so while talking to a friend.