This dish came to be after we found fresh tomatillos at our local greengrocer. Being so far away from Mexico, finding fresh tomatillos is a rarity, an expensive one. However, they are so irresistible to us that we had to get them and come up with something equally unusual. We decided to slow cooking them with aubergine, shallots, olive oil and herbs. Not really knowing what to expect we waited and waited until it was time to try them. The result is so delicious and elegant. The tomatillo has a very high water content so even when it almost melted in the process, the aubergine soaked up the tomatillo citrusy juices. It really was a beautiful thing.
Tomatillo (little tomato in Spanish) is related to cape gooseberries and the similarities are striking. We had the opportunity to find them both at the same time so it was a perfect opportunity to make a side by side comparison. The visual similarities are just the beginning. The feel to them is exactly the same in their husk and their skin. Once sliced in half the fruit is pretty much the same. The biggest difference is the falvour. Tomatillos are tart and citrusy. Cape Gooseberries are tart, citrusy and sweet. After the long cooking time, their flavour turned sweet which made a fantastic pair with the aubergines.
To make the best use of our Tomatillo & Aubergine confit, we paired it with whole-wheat couscous and made the dressing with the oil from the confit, dukkah, Maldon salt and cape gooseberries juice. The mix of flavours are just amazing. This recipe makes a big bowl worth of 2 large portions or 4 small sides.
-5 Fresh Tomatillos
-100g Whole-wheat Couscous
-5 Cape Gooseberries
-1 Tbsp. Dukkah
-Pinch of Mexican Oregano
-Pinch of Dried Thyme or a Few Fresh Springs
Preheat oven to 150C. Cut the aubergine and tomatillo chunks in roughly the same size. Peel the shallots and add them whole if they are similar in size. Set them on a baking tray and sprinkle with Mexican oregano, thyme, sea salt and add a lot of olive oil. The olive oil shouldn’t cover the vegetables but it should have plenty of it. Bake in the oven for an hour and a half. Let it cool and set aside.
Cook the couscous by adding 200ml of hot water, a drizzle of olive oil and cover with cling film. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Uncover and fluff it with a fork. Let it cool and set aside.
For the dressing, use the remaining cooking oil from the confit and add smashed cape gooseberries, dukka and sea salt to taste.
To serve, layer the couscous, the confit and drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle some pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!!!