Tuesday, December 7, 2010

0 Recipe #210: Tequila-Infused Tomato & Tomatillo Sauce

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We found these gorgeous, absolutely HUGE tomatillos at the international supermarket the other day. I've never seen ones as enormous as these before. They were as big as hot house tomatoes.

The tomatillos at this market are such a great contrast to the ones I've typically seen in regular supermarkets, which are usually puny and unimpressive, and often look like they've been kicked around a bit too -- maybe for soccer practice? ;) These were perfect. Plump and firm to the touch. No bruises or blemishes of any kind. Even the husks were perfect -- whole and intact -- unlike so many I'd seen elsewhere with withered, brittle exteriors. All good signs of well-picked, superfresh produce.

At the time, I didn't have a particular purpose or specific recipe in mind when I'd picked them up & put them in our cart. (Maybe I'd make salsa verde or soup with them, or toss them into an omelette?) That wasn't even my first and foremost thought. They just looked so gorgeous that I couldn't resist. The jaw dropped, the eyeballs widened, and the hands just started reaching, almost as if they weren't even attached to my body. And that was that. :)

These tomatillos were so amazing that I knew I'd surely think of something to do with them. :)

When it came right down to it, I decided that I wouldn't be using them for an already-existing recipe from this blog or elsewhere. Instead, I'd be creating something entirely new & different, which'd also provide another recipe for the blog. :) Since there are already a myriad of tomatillo-based recipes here, I knew it was time to put my creativity to the test again & branch out even more. After all, one of the major driving forces behind this blog and also my cookbook is to present new and original recipe ideas that haven't been done before, whether they take the form of entirely new creations or my own re-imaginings of classic dishes.

So, without further ado, I give you my latest creation, tequila-infused tomato & tomatillo sauce.  Now, try saying that 50 times, really, really fast. :)

Tequila-Infused Tomato & Tomatillo Sauce

This sauce can be served either hot or cold. Served hot, it could be used as a filling for various stuffed vegetable dishes or as a substitute for tomato sauce -- a tasty topping for pasta (spaghetti, lasagna, etc.), chicken, fish, or other type of seafood. For additional flourish, melt Monterey Jack cheese on top &/or garnish with avocado slices. Served cold, it has yet more uses: Use it as a party dip to serve with vegetables, as a replacement for salsa (verde or roja), or to top hors d'œuvres like bruschetta, etc.

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. yellow onion, peeled & diced (about 1/4 large onion)
2 Tbsp. shallots, peeled & finely minced (about 1 small shallot)
1/2 Tbsp. fresh garlic, peeled & finely minced (about 1 large clove)
1/2 Tbsp. red Thai (i.e., Bird's Eye) chili peppers, stemmed, seeded, de-ribbed, & then diced (about 2 medium-sized chilies)
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped & tightly packed
4 c. tomatillos, husked, stemmed/hulled, throughly washed, & diced (about 4 extra-large tomatillos)
1 c. fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes, diced (about 1 1/2 medium-sized tomatoes)
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 c. gold tequila
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice (the juice of about 1/2 large lime)
2 Tbsp. Kalamata olives, pitted & either halved or sliced into thin rounds (about 8 olives)
1/4 c. scallions, sliced crosswise into 1/4" thick rounds (about 2 large scallions)
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, finely minced (for garnish)

Directions: In a large (12-13"), deep sauté pan, sauté onion, shallots, garlic, chilies, & oregano leaves in olive oil on low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Then add tomatillos & tomatoes, & season with salt, pepper, & cumin. Continue to cook for another few minutes until tomatillos & tomatoes have begun to soften, stirring continually so that they don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with tequila, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced to only a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. (When ready, sauce should still be a bit chunky and the ingredients should still retain most of their color.) Then remove from heat, stir in lime juice, olives, scallions, & cilantro, & serve.

Yield: 4-6 servings.

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