My garden yielded abundant amounts of tomatillos this past year which in turn led to a new found appreciation of this vegetable. Tart and bright, it can go far beyond salsa verde. The initial inspiration for this preparation comes from the owners of a local restaurant, Patrona. Savor these flavors with a sipping type artisan tequila if your budget permits! —Amber Olson
large tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
ripe Roma tomatoes, cored
Anaheim chiles, stemmed, halved and seeded
Serrano chiles (depends on how hot they taste and your tolerance for heat), stemmed and halved
whole cloves garlic, not too large
white onion, about 4 ounces
good quality tequila, (plus more for garnish, optional)
fresh squeezed lime juice
Kosher salt to taste
fresh cilantro leaves
Meyer lemons (if in season), or regular lemons
ripe but firm avocado
dozen shucked oysters, with juices, or jarred fresh oysters, chilled well (Note: If oysters are large, cut in half before chilling.)
Put first six ingredients into a 2-quart saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until chiles are soft. Drain the chile mixture, reserving water. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.Transfer chile mixture to a food processor and puree. Add tequila and lime juice. Process to blend. Add enough reserved water and blend to make a nice pourable "cocktail" mixture. Taste for salt, heat and lime. Adjust to your liking. Chill until very cold.
With a sharp knife, peel the outer rind from the lemons (avoiding the white pith), and then cut the rind into thin strips. Cut avocado into medium dice right before assembling.
When ready to eat, spoon 4-6 oysters with some of the juices into clear over-size martini glasses or compote cups. Stir salsa cocktail mixture, then gently pour over the oysters. Add some diced avocado. Drizzle in a little tequila (optional). Top with some cilantro leaves and a lemon rind slice that you twist to release some citrus oil. Grind or sprinkle a touch of speciality sea salt on top.