How to Make Sweeter Salsa Without Added Sugar

I moved into my house in the winter when the yard had just been turfed and a few ornamental shrubs dotted the perimeter of my yard. Owning a house in the winter is not the same as owning a house in the spring – everything grows in the spring, and there is a lot of growth around my house. Once the weather warmed up, I was happy to find a well-established asparagus bed, a few flowers that I hadn’t planted, and so many tomatillo plants.

These things are everywhere. Previous owners – who until recently lived in the neighborhood – have clearly planted many plants and their seeds have spread to the front, back and sides of the house. I am clearly not complaining because it takes a lot of tomatoes to make a decent amount of salsa.

If you think you’ve never eaten tomatillo before, yes, you do (probably). It is a key ingredient in salsa verde, the ubiquitous salsa that dates back to the Aztecs. If you’ve never had a whole fresh tomatillo before, it’s worth trying it on its own. It is sweet and slightly tart, denser and slightly less juicy than tomato. Toast them and they become sweet and deep .

I recently decided to see how sweet and deep they could be, so I tossed about 10 ounces of whole tomatillos in a deep fryer basket along with peppers I picked from my garden and four cloves of garlic. I fried it all with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and two generous pinches of salt for 45 minutes in a 300 ℉ deep fryer , stirring occasionally while tomatillos et al. turned into a juicy caramelized mass of plant matter. I mixed it all together, then processed it with lime and one raw Thai chili for warmth (obviously not traditional, but this is what I had in my garden and it was quite spicy).

It was good, but very sweet, almost too sweet; he demonstrated how effective roasting can be as a method of adding sweetness without adding extra table sugar (or agave, or whatever). Roasting triggers both the caramelization and the Maillard reaction while removing water and enhancing the sweetness. It works so well that you have to be a little careful using its power.

I, for one, went a little too far with the roast and my salsa was too sweet. If I did it again, I would fry about half the ingredients and leave some tomatoes and peppers raw to balance out the deeper, sticky flavor with a bit of pungency and pepper.

But if you, for example, have a salsa recipe that you want to tweak to make it a little deeper, darker, and sweeter, just fry some of the ingredients and fry them well until they give up their juices and lose their shape. and show some color. (You can use a deep fat fryer like me or a conventional oven. Both are great options.) Mix the salsa-fried foods with the rest of the ingredients to sweeten the batch, all without adding sugar or sweeteners. …

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