We were introduced to this fine specimen of a well, umm, fruit, or perhaps it is a vegetable by our Ecuadorian friend, Eloisa. We are very lucky to have good friends from South America who pop round with fresh empanadas, arepas and a variety of chillies that I have never heard of but are apparently, so I’m informed, essential for particular dishes. I always appreciate Eloisa’s honesty and love of food. I remember being taken off arepas-making duties amidst hysterical laughter – English novice versus Ecuadorian pride and expertise – no contest!
Tomatillo or Tamarillo can be found in the Andes region of Latin America so Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Chile. They can be sweet as well as having a bitter taste and are often used in sauces and soups in Ecuador. Eaten raw they taste somewhere between a tomato and a passion fruit. To be honest I wasn’t sure what to do with them.
They sat in the fruit bowl for a few days winking at me so not one to wimp out at a challenge; I decided to make Ecuadorian Tomatillo Salsa to accompany grilled chicken and spicy rice.
3 tomatillo (can buy in Waitrose)
1 fresh red chilli
1 handful of fresh coriander
1 spring onion
juice of 1 lemon or lime
Blanch the tomatillo for about a minute in hot water, then once they are cool enough to handle, peel the fruit with a sharp knife.
Put into a food processor with all the other ingredients, blitz into a chunky chutney consistency. Add fresh coriander.
Serve chilled with grilled meat dishes.