One of the great pleasures of a CSA share is encountering vegetables for the very first time.
Tiny ones, perhaps, cloaked in Chinese lantern husks.
Farmer Dave’s ever-helpful distributors identified them as husk cherry tomatoes. They are also called ground cherries, and cape gooseberries.
They’re often mistaken for tomatillos. The two are close relatives and inhabit similar papery husks. At ½-3/4 inch in diameter, the ground cherry is a quarter of the size of a tomatillo. Ground cherries range in color from green to orange. Their flavor melds the tomatillo’s citrus-tinged tartness with a cherry tomato’s sun-drenched sugar.
I regret not popping one into my mouth raw. I don’t regret roasting them, however. A little char balances all that sweet quite nicely.
Once roasted, whir them up in your food processor with fresh herbs, jalapeno, lime juice, garlic and a touch of cumin, and you’ve got a salsa that’s not quite verde, but just as refreshing.
Tomatillo Salsa Verde (makes about one cup)
- 1 1/2 pints small ground cherries, husked
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 medium clove of garlic
- 1/2 tsp-1tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 small yellow onion, coarsley chopped.
- 1 handful cilantro or parsley
- juice of 1/2 lime
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Husk the tomatoes and quarter the jalapeno. Place them whole on a baking sheet. Bake until the tomatoes show initial sign of charring (one or two brown or black spots). Put tomatoes, onion, cumin, garlic, lime juice and salt in a food processor. Blend until combined. Add the cilantro (or parsley) and pulse once or twice until the larger leaves are broken up. Serve over grilled chicken breasts, or with tortilla chips.