Wondering what to do with green tomatoes? Make a simple roasted salsa verde that turns these bland unripe tomatoes into a flavorful condiment.
I have to say, picking green tomatoes is a depressing way to end the summer. But there was little choice. A couple of early hard frosts killed off our tomato plants. Even worse, we were away on our honeymoon when it happened. When we returned, we scrambled in the dark, filling up baskets and buckets of rescued tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. But hey, I'm not complaining. We got married and spent a few days out of town, neither of which are easy feats for 2020.
Between our wedding and then some time out of town, we were a little distracted from the garden for a couple of weeks. It hadn’t even crossed my mind to prepare for a frost. Yet even if we were home, it likely would have been impossible to save all our plants from many nights of such cold. The most frustrating part is that as I write this, it’s 80 outside, and the low is around 60.
What to do with green tomatoes
What do you do with several pounds of green tomatoes? Well, you could let them ripen until red, which shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks or so. Keep an eye on them and discard any that turn soft or moldy. This is fine if you have the space to do so and can use them as they’re ready. I don’t have much space in my condo to spread tomatoes everywhere, especially when my dog is known to snag tomatoes within his reach. One year I caught him pulling cherry tomatoes right off the plant!
Of course, you can always try making fried green tomatoes. They’re appealing at first, but I can only eat so many. There’s also green tomato chutney, which I tend to make with the inevitable few green tomatoes we get. It’s a sweet, sour, and spicy condiment that pairs well with cheese and sandwiches. I love it on grilled cheese. But even after canning a few pints of chutney, my dining table was still covered in green tomatoes.
That’s when I got creative. Or do I mean desperate? I already made roasted red tomato salsa, so why not try a green one? Green salsa, or salsa verde, is a popular Mexican salsa that is usually made with tomatillos. Since my tomatillo plant never produced, and I was drowning in green tomatoes, I figured it was a substitution worth trying.
What is salsa verde?
Traditional salsa verde is like other green sauces, such as Italian pesto or Argentinian chimichurri sauce. It’s usually a thin salsa used as a condiment on anything from enchiladas to eggs. In this recipe, I roast the ingredients to help bring out some flavor because green tomatoes don’t taste like much on their own. I also use a mix of jalapenos and poblanos for spice and earthiness. You can use all jalapenos if you like a spicier salsa or use all poblanos if you don’t.
This roasted salsa verde is a thicker, more common style of salsa and not that much like the salsa verde you might know from restaurants. But if that’s what you’re looking for, all you have to do is keep pulsing it in the food processor and add water until it’s thinned out a bit.