Recipe File: Fried Green Tomatillo

I love making fried or stewed green tomatoes.  I grew up with them and have always had a huge love of their tangy, almost artichoke-like flavor.  Properly made fried green tomatoes are firm and the batter crunchy; tangy with a hint of salt in the batter.

Rochto and I just recently went local for all our food.  We bought a half a cow from a local farm, etc (I’ll post on that later). A good friend of ours hooked us up with a huge box of local produce.  Squash, herbs, spinach, broccoli, and some of the largest tomatillo I have ever seen. These were medium tomato sized. I’ve only ever used tomatillo in my restaurant cooking days for making a cream verde enchilada sauce. So I knew that they are extremely sour, the skin tends to be a bit thicker, and that I’d never seen one used in anything but a salsa or sauce. So I thought, I wonder if anyone’s tried to fry them? 

Come to find out several people had.  I combined several recipes then added one special touch at the end that I think really made the dish perfect. This recipe, by the way, works fine for green tomatoes but I would leave off the last step since they are far less tangy and I think don’t need a strong sugar flavor to offset it.


1 lb fresh tomatillo, tennis ball size if you can get them, bigger than a golf ball if not.
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon
Garlic Tabasco sauce
2 cups flour
1 shaker
Cajun Choice Creole Seasoning
4 tablespoons light oil (for frying)
1 shaker full of
Sugar in the Raw 

One thing about tomatillo is that they look like small tomatoes in a paper like husk.  When you remove the husk they are covered in a very sticky, hard to remove substance.  So, you have to get rid of the stems and husks and wash them to remove the sticky. Depending on the size of the tomatillo try and cut them 1/4 inches thick.

In a separate dish combine the milk, egg, lemon, and Tabasco.  Drop the slices of tomatillo into the mixture to soak for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a skillet, or if you want you can use a deep fryer. Try to use a neutral oil. In my opinion there’s enough flavor assertion here in all the ingredients that the oil shouldn’t impart any clear influence.  An Enova or vegetable oil is fine. Having said that, with what we’re loading up here if you want to use an incredibly thick olive oil go for it if that’s your style.

Dredge each tomatillo slice in the flour until completely covered in dried flour.  Set aside.  Over the plate of breaded tomatillo shake *heavily* the shaker of Creole seasoning.  Flip the slices then shake again.  Each side should now be completely reddish colored from the paprika and cayenne in the seasoning.

Now, fry!  Be very careful.  The first couple I did rendered mushy pretty fast.  You want the batter to brown but the slices to retain some bit of firmness.  I found deep frying worked better than pan frying.  When deep frying do roughly 90-120 seconds depending on the oil and temperature. Pan frying means you have to flip them to get even coverage and that resulted in overcooking without the batter firming up.

Once all the slices are fried place them on paper towels to soak up any excess oil and lightly pat dry.

And now for the last step, the step I think you might want to skip if you are doing regular fried green tomatoes and not tomatillo.  The tomatillo are *super* tangy.  So a bit of sweet to counteract the spice and salt of the batter is the right move.  You have two choices.  You can drizzle honey over the slices and run the risk of interfering with the crispiness of the batter, or dust both sides with a brown unrefined sugar like sugar in the raw.

The resultant slices are outstanding.  You get the tart, artichoke flavor of the tomatillo, some bite and salt from the creole seasoning, and the delicious sweetness overall from the sugar/honey.  I hope this turns out as good for you as it did for us.


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