I’m Bad at Puns: Fried Tomatillos with Apple and Ham

There are good work days and bad work days. There are healthy meals and unhealthy meals. We are constantly in the liminal spade between these extremes, which is all the more reason to have meals in one’s arsenal to bank on. This is one of them. It will suit your cathartic need to cook out stress after a bad day, satisfy your sense of adventure by letting you try something new in the kitchen, and it includes a form of bacon. What more could you ask for? (Besides to not have a vegetarian come for dinner…..sorry kids. Then again, leave the ham off and this is a lovely vegetarian dish.)

In case you haven’t figured it out: today was a bad work day. Food improves circumstances. Tomorrow is another day.

Life goes on.

Plus this meal is delicious.

My directions are going to be very blunt/direct, because this plate of food is more complicated than what I normally make, and I don’t want to throw you off your A-game with my sassy directions. Trust me though – it’s money. Make, eat, and love it in good health.

Fried Tomatillos with Apple and Ham (and Jalapeno-Cilantro Aioli) – Adapted from Iron Chef Jose Garces’ recipe in Food Network Magazine

For the Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped ham
  • 1 gala apple – cut into matchsticks (Also, please google search how to do this and tell me, because I spent way too long slicing these damn apples.)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 green onions – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives – finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary – finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme – finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

For the Tomatillos:

  • Medium tomatillos (as many as you’ll eat) – husked, rinsed, and cut into wedges
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley – finely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground tumeric
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the Jalapeno-Cilantro Aioli:

  • 1 cup cilantro – chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper – chopped and seeded
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 lime’s worth of juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Kosher salt and pepper  to taste
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heat the Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium-high heat. Cook the ham until golden, remove, and drain.

Toss the apple, vinegar, honey, green onions, parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper together and set aside.

Soak the tomatillos in the milk while mixing the flour, cornmeal, parsley, mustard powder, onion powder, garlic powder, tumeric, salt, and pepper.

Heat two inches of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or regular vegetable oil) over medium high heat (turn the heat down accordingly, depending on how fast the tomatoes fry up). The oil is ready when it bubbles around the handle of a wooden cooking spoon.

Dredge the tomatillos in the flour miture and fry until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on a paper towel, and sprinkle with salt.

To make the aioli, blend all aioli ingredients listed above except the Extra Virgin Olive Oil until smooth, then add the oil and blend again.

Top the tomatillos with the apple mixture, sprinkle with the ham, and drizzle the aioli on top.

Eat while listening to “Mondo Bongo” by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros

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