The official start of Fall is nearly upon us, although I started saying goodbye to Summer last week when I returned to Brooklyn to find the weather had taken a turn towards crisp days and cool nights. I’ve started wearing a coat and socks again, and sandals are a thing of the past.
September is a most amazing month for cooking and eating local. I may be mourning the passing of beach days, but right now there is an overlap in harvests where many of the incredible foods of Summer coexist with early Fall crops. It is one of my favorite times of year, although fleeting as yesterday’s Locavore Challenge email reminded me:
Summer crops are on their way out and fall crops are beginning to emerge in the markets. Take advantage of the last of summer tomatoes, sweet corn and zuchinni, and get ready to welcome in winter squash and greens.
If you haven’t gotten around to preserving summer foods for the long Winter ahead, now is the time. I’ve been craving one last pot of corn chowder, and when it comes to sauces, tomatoes aren’t the only thing I’m hoarding. One of my storage staples is tomatillo sauce. I make it and freeze it now so I can smother enchiladas or burritos filled with hearty greens and mushrooms, or eggs and potatoes later. This bright and spicy sauce is a welcome treat when Summer flavors are only a memory.
Look forward to my go-to burritos (with mushrooms, spinach, quinoa and goat cheese) smothered in Tomatillo Sauce later this year. You’ll thank yourself for having a few quarts of this good stuff in the freezer when the time comes.
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1-2 fresh hot chilies (to taste, serranos, jalepeños or habeneros), stemmed and coarsely chopped
- 1.5 lbs. (10-12 medium) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- 2 cups stock
- 3 tablespoons sour cream, heavy cream or creme fraiche
In a food processor or blender, puree the garlic, chilies, tomatillos and cilantro until smooth. In a heavy saucepan or stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the puree and cook, stirring frequently until thick and reduced to the consistency of tomato sauce. Add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Season to taste with salt (or sugar) if needed. When ready to serve, stir in the cream.
*I usually double this recipe and freeze it without the cream, then I add it when I defrost and reheat the sauce.
This Tomatillo Sauce is adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless. It’s a great book of approachable recipes for traditional Mexican dishes – a favorite from my cookbook shelf.