No shock to any of my regular readers – I pretty much want to ferment all the things, all the time. I’m basically a jewel case away from being a Portlandia sketch.
My new favorite fermented condiment is this Lacto-Fermented Tomatillo Salsa. It’s super easy. You just chop up a bunch of stuff in a food processor, mix it up and ferment everything it in a big jar. It tastes great on everything, but is particularly delicious with eggs or steak. Or, you know, both.
My tomatillos have been going crazy this year, so naturally my mind drifted towards salsa. My go-to on-line starting place for most things canning is the National Center For Home Food Preservation. I made a roasted variation of their water-bath canned Tomatillo Green Salsa, and it was good. Really good, in fact.
But when it came time to make batch number two, I had something a bit….livelier in mind. And so, starting with the same basic proportions from the canned tomatillo salsa recipe, I fermented my way to tomatillo salsa heaven.
To prepare tomatillos, peel off the husk and wash them to remove any stickiness. Typically this is all that’s needed, but if any stems look woody, trim them off too.
I chop all the vegetables for stuff like this in my food processor. Just chop each vegetable individually to the ideal, fine-chopped consistency and then combine them in a big stainless bowl. If you try to chop different vegetables together in the food processor, the softer vegetable inevitably becomes over-processed while the second one is still in big pieces.
Lacto-Fermented Tomatillo Salsa
Yield 3 quarts
- 5 cups husked, chopped tomatillos
- 1-½ cups seeded, chopped long green chiles
- ½ cup seeded, minced jalapeño peppers
- 4 cups peeled, chopped onions
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro (about 1 bunch)
- 1/4 cup loosely packed minced fresh oregano, or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin, or more to taste
- about 3 tablespoons fine sea salt
- Clean and prepare a 1 gallon fermentation crock or a 4-liter glass, bail-top jar for fermenting. Make sure it's perfectly clean!
- Chop the ingredients one at a time in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Combine all the prepared vegetables in a large bowl, and stir to fully mix everything.
- Add the cumin and salt and 2.5 tablespoons of the salt, and mix to combine. Taste the salsa. It should taste distinctly salty, but not unpleasantly so. If the salsa seems bland, add the remaining half-tablespoon salt. Adjust seasonings as desired.
- Add the tomatillo salsa to the crock or jar. With a clean spoon, press the ingredients down to release some of the juices. Press the solids under the juices, and weight the ferment.
- Seal the crock or jar, and leave the tomatillo salsa at room temperature out of direct sun, for 2 to 4 days. Check the ferment daily. Look for bubbles and other signs of fermentation, give the ferment a little shake and swirl to keep everything fermenting evenly, burp the lid to release any pent-up carbon dioxide in the jar and taste the development of the tomatillo salsa (clean spoon please).
- When you like the taste of the salsa or after 4 days, transfer the fermented salsa to smaller jars for cold storage in the refrigerator, where it will keep for at least 4 months.
After fermenting, you'll have about 3 finished quarts of salsa, which can be stored refrigerated in smaller jars. However, I recommend fermenting in a larger container - something about gallon size is right - to allow for sufficient headroom and uniform fermentation.