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 sweet potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, green/red bell pepper, padrón peppers, onions, lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, pears, bananas, peaches and plums.
Padrón taco sauce
Most of my dishes this week are inspired by a Netflix show I'm currently obsessed with: las crónicas del taco. This show is about all of the amazing tacos you have in Mexico. Every episode is about a different taco. They show the history, how they are made and go to different taquerias where they make these tacos. One of the things they keep mentioning is that a taco is not a taco without a good sauce. So with that in my mind I decided to make a taco sauce, which I used in two of my dishes this week.
I used the padrón peppers, a couple of the small tomatoes and half an onion from the box. I grilled the peppers and tomatoes (cut in half, upside down) to get a more smoky flavour in the sauce. Bake and turn the peppers until they start to blacken. I baked the onions with some garlic. I added some jalapeños for spiciness as the padrón peppers are not spicy. Blend all of these ingredients with some water (about half a cup) and you have an amazing sauce for tacos or dipping.
Roasted eggplant tacos
My first tacos of this week are roasted eggplant tacos. I absolutely love eggplants so I was happy to see one in my box this week. I bought an extra one in the store as one wouldn't have been enough for these tacos. For this dish I also used a couple of the tomatoes and half an onion from the box. I got corn tortillas (yes, finally found them) and chickpeas from the supermarket.
I roasted the eggplants on top of my stove as you can see in the picture. You can also achieve the same result in the oven, but the stove top seemed so much more fun to me. Whatever method you choose, do not forget to pierce them with a fork, otherwise you could have exploding eggplants in your kitchen. Keep turning the eggplant until all sides are starting to blacken and wrinkle (picture 2). Take them of the stove or out of the oven and let them cool down. Then cut the eggplants in half and scoop out the soft flesh inside. Bake this delicious, smoky eggplant mash with some diced onion and tomatoes until the tomatoes have softened.
To plate up these tacos, put some of the eggplant mixture on top of a tortilla. Add some crispy chickpeas (baked in oven or pan) and then some of the padrón sauce (see first recipe). These tacos were amazing and I can definitely recommend them!
Spaghetti with roasted pepper sauce
In between my taco craze, I decided to make a pasta with some of the amazing vegetables from the box. My mind, though, was still set on grilling and roasting. It made me remember an amazing sauce I made a while ago from roasted peppers. I used all of the bell peppers from the box (I think one of the green ones was actually a padrón). Other things you need for this sauce are garlic, olive oil, almond milk and salt. This time I roasted the vegetables in the oven (200 degrees Celcius), because they were simply too many to put on my stove top. Bake them until they start to blacken and wrinkle (picture 2). Don't forget to turn them once in a while.
Pictures 3 to 7 show a method to extract the smoky flesh from the peppers. Cut of the top and make a cut on the side so you can unfold them (picture 4). Then you can scrape out the seeds and the white flesh (picture 5). Flip them over (picture 6) and carefully take of the skin (picture 7). The skin should come off really easy. Blend the roasted pepper flesh with chopped garlic (one clove), one teaspoon of olive oil, one cup of almond milk and a pinch of salt.
To finish the dish I cut one of the zucchinis from the box in quarters and most of the cherry tomatoes in half. I baked the zucchini with salt and pepper until they started to soften before adding the roasted pepper sauce and the cherry tomatoes. Heat this mixture until the tomatoes are done. Add some cooked spaghetti and you're ready to eat!
Sweet potato tacos
My second tacos this week are made with the sweet potatoes from the box. To finish the dish I bought some corn tortillas, feta and corn nuts from the store. I also used one of the onions from the box and the padrón sauce from my first recipe this week.
Peel and cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces and boil them until they begin to soften. Then bake these cooked potatoes in a pan until they preferably start to brown. I didn't have any butter, however, so mine did not turn brown everywhere. To plate up the tacos, put a couple of the potatoes on a tortilla, crumble feta on top, add corn nuts for the crunch, some diced raw onion and finish with the padrón sauce. These tacos were also super delicious, just as amazing as the eggplant ones I made this week. I can't pick a favourite so I will just keep making them both!