Tomatillo and Pepper-Ring Escabeche with Garlic

The best American name for this vegetable would probably be “Mexican green tomato”, but they actually taste nothing like regular tomatoes, In fact, the tomatillo is not a tomato at all. The tomatillo has a tart, lemony flavor that is enhance when cooked (especially roasted) and is an excellent base for salsas. While salsa (salsa verde) is the most popular way to enjoy tomatillo, they can be used in other ways. Tomatillos contain high amounts of vitamin A&C. Tomatillos are our #2 sales item!

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Ingredients:

1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 large poblano chile
1/2 onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
5-6 large tomatillos, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, husked and cut into quarters
6-8 cloves garlic, halved

For the brine:

4 cups rice wine vinegar
2 cups water
2 pods star anise
4 sticks canela or 2 sticks cinnamon, cracked
1-1/4 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. fennel seed
1-1/4 tsp. whole allspice
2 tsp. coriander seeds
4 cloves
6 serranos, halved
1 dried New Mexico red chile, split, stemmed, and seeded
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro

Instructions:

Trim the stem ends of the peppers and poblano, then seed and devein them while keeping the peppers and poblano intact. Cut them into 1/4″ thick rings and put all the vegetables except the garlic in a large heat-resistant bowl.

Combine all of the brine ingredients except for the cilantro in a large nonreactive saucepan and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Reduce the brine by one third, about 8-12 minutes, then remove from the heat, add the cilantro and let the ingredients steep.

Strain the brine into another large saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic. Cook for 2-4 minutes, or until the garlic is tender but not mushy. Pour the brine over the vegetables and let them cool to room temperature, uncovered. When the brine cools, cover and refrigerate the escabeche for at least 6 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, drain off the brine and reserve it for another use.

Recipe from “┬ícocina!” a hands-on guide to the techniques of southwestern cooking by Leland Atkinson.