I stumbled on this amazing company in Spain: Imperfectus. On this website you can order a box filled with 'imperfect' fruit and vegetables. I love it so much that I currently have a weekly subscription with them. Every Tuesday I receive a box of 8-10 kilos of fruit and vegetables that are considered too ugly in terms of shape or size to be sold in the supermarket. You do not know what will be in the box as it depends on what's in season, but the products are always fresh. One of the other advantages of this box is than none of the produce is wrapped in any plastic, unlike in all of the supermarkets here in Spain. Every week I will try to come up with new dishes inspired by the contents of my Imperfectus box.
This week's box included zucchini, red and green bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce, cucumber, onions, lemons, a big watermelon, plums and peaches.
Rice, broccoli, mushroom, bell pepper and plum sauce
Before I even received this week's box I already wanted to use more fruit in my savoury dishes. This box did not contain a lot of vegetables to work with, because the majority of the 8-10 kilos was due to the huge watermelon. When I was thinking of how to incorporate these fruits in dishes I was actually reminded of all the times the contestants on Masterchef Australia (one of my favourite shows ever) make plum sauces. So I decided to give it a go myself!
For this sauce you start by slicing the plums in pieces. Put them in a pan with some red wine vinegar (you can also use other vinegar), soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, anise, whole cloves, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. You have to taste and balance this sauce out, so it is really hard to give exact measurements. Add more vinegar to make it more sour, soy sauce to make it more salty and honey to make it more sweet. My plums were pretty sour on their own so I, for example, added about four tablespoons of honey to balance that out. Be careful with the anise, cloves, cayenne and cinnamon as these can be overpowering. Try about one teaspoon each to start with.
When the plums have broken down into a sticky mess (picture 5) you can blitz it up with a blender to turn it into a smooth sauce. I cooked some brown rice and pan grilled broccoli, bell pepper (also from the box) and mushrooms to accompany the sauce. You can also combine the sauce it with other vegetables or substitute the rice by noodles. This sauce also works well as a dipping sauce or to glaze your protein. A popular combination is duck with plum sauce.
Watermelon, cucumber and feta salad
Obviously I had to make something with the watermelon, as it was the main part of this week's box. I made a simple, fresh watermelon salad with cucumber, feta, mint and lemon. I used the cucumber and lemon from the box, while buying the mint and feta in the supermarket. Cut the watermelon and cucumber in cubes or whatever shape you like. Add some feta, mint and finish it by sprinkling some lemon juice on top.
Salad cups with hamburgers and roasted potatoes
For these hamburgers I used the lettuce, potatoes and onion from the box. I baked the potatoes in the oven with some olive oil and herbs (salt, pepper, parsley). I added tomato, gherkins, Greek yogurt, mini hamburgers and a fried egg. You can add other stuff as well, like bacon or cheddar cheese, but for me this was enough as a lunch dish.
Salmon, zucchini pesto, roasted potatoes and vegetables
For this dish I used the zucchinis, potatoes, green bell peppers and lemon from the box. I bought salmon, cherry tomatoes and some ingredients for the pesto in the supermarket. First you cut the potatoes, zucchini and bell peppers into slices. Bake them in the oven together with the cherry tomatoes and salt, pepper and parsley. Season the salmon with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice. Then, bake the salmon in a hot pan, about 3 minutes each side.
The zucchini pesto is made out of one normal size zucchini (cut into pieces), olive oil (1 tablespoon), garlic (1 clove), pine nuts (1 tablespoon), Parmesan cheese (2 tablespoons) and basil. Blend until creamy. I baked the zucchini with the garlic before blending it with the other ingredients, but you can also use raw zucchini.