3 Ways to Cook with Tomatillos — Chopped Junior

In a recent Chopped Junior episode, the budding chefs attempted to dice and saute their way to the $10,000 prize. The competitors opened basket after basket until only one contestant was left standing.

These young cooks proved they are well-versed in cooking techniques: vacuum-sealing proteins in marinade to infuse flavor quickly, turning sloppy joes into elevated meatballs, and churning mayonnaise into creamy and cold ice cream.

At least one contestant in each round conquered outside-the-box ingredients such as popped corn chips, Sicilian pesto and fruit drink pouches. But among the strange ingredients plucked from each basket, a fruit caught our eye: tomatillos.

If you aren’t familiar, tomatillos are a cooking staple in Mexico. Don’t let the name fool you: They are more akin to a gooseberry in taste than a tomato. As judge Geoffrey Zakarian noted, raw tomatillos can be bitter. Cooking the fruit will bring out its pleasant tartness.

The contestants worked the finicky fruit into their dishes, deep-frying, pulverizing and charring them to add a hint of tanginess to their dishes. With the many ways to use tomatillos on our mind, we looked to the experts at Food Network Kitchen for a few more ideas:

Grilled Chicken Tostadas al Carbon with Grilled Tomatillos and Queso Fresco (pictured above)

This chicken tostada derives a lot of its fresh, vibrant flavor from the grilled tomatillos.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Tomatillo Scallop Ceviche

In this recipe the tomatillos are charred, which brings a balanced smokiness to the scallop ceviche.

Chicken Chilaquiles with Tomatillo Sauce

Tomatillo puree adds just the right amount of tanginess to this hearty chicken chilaquiles dish that you can serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Watch Chopped Junior on Tuesdays at 8|7c to see what unique things the kids whip up next.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Three Ways to Cook Butternut Squash

Cooking butternut squash, with its hard, thick shell, can seem daunting. But it’s easy to prepare this orange-fleshed winter staple once you learn a few simple tips. Use butternut squash in soups and pasta dishes, or just serve it baked in its shell with a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey. Cook butternut squash by baking, microwaving or roasting.

VOTE: A Next Iron Chef 3-Way Meatball Cook-Off — Rival Recipes

In this installment of Food Network's Rival Recipes, Next Iron Chef rivals Nate Appleman, Duskie Estes and Elizabeth Falkner compete in a meatball cook-off.

VOTE: A Next Iron Chef Three-Way Bacon Cook-Off — Rival Recipes

In this installment of Food Network's Rival Recipes, Next Iron Chefs rivals Nate Appleman, Alex Guarnaschelli and Amanda Freitag compete in a bacon cook-off.

Top 5 Ways to Cook More

Lots of folks want to cook more often, they just aren’t sure how to go about doing it. Our 5 must-know tips will help you get fast, fresh and healthy meals on the table without the stress.

The Best Way to Cook Bacon

... is actually more than one way. The perfect method depends on the circumstance. Here's how to get perfect bacon every time, no matter what.