Tomatillos are sometimes called Mexican green tomatoes, even though they aren’t really tomatoes at all. They are in the same nightshade family as tomatoes, and gooseberries for that matter, hence the papery covering that must be removed before using. They’re sticky, too, after removing the paper husk, but the sticky stuff washes off with cold water.
Many Mexican, Latin, and Southwestern dishes use tomatillos. They can be eaten raw or cooked. Available most of the year in the Southwest and sporadically around the rest of the country. Look in Latin markets if your store doesn’t normally stock them.
Salsa Verde (green salsa) often contains tomatillos. Eaten raw, they taste tart and tangy, with a hint of apple and citrus. Cooking tomatillos mellows the tang slightly. You can boil, steam or grill tomatillos.
When buying tomatillos, look for bright green, smooth skins. I peel back the paper husk to check for firmness and color. Store them in the refrigerator in their husks until ready to use. They should keep several days. Remove the husks and wash thoroughly. Now you’re ready to chop them raw for a salsa, or cook them whole, like I do in my stacked chicken enchiladas.