Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

This time of year when the choko begin to fruit is one great calendar moment. i just love to pick the wee ones but prefer my harvest while they remain bright green and the pip has not  formed.

First rule of choko delight: don't peel them. At best scrape them with a fork and dice them to suit your personality. 

Then mix together:

  • heaps of chopped parsley. I mean heaps.
  • chopped tomato (I prefer the small ones there too)
  • grated garlic (if you like but not essential)
  • chopped up spring onions (all of 'em, including tops: be generous)

OPTIONAL ADD

  • chopped chili
  • diced sweet pepper (if available)
  • de-spiked and diced prickly pear paddles/nopales  (just run a knife parallel across the skin to remove the offending and maybe spiky  bumps.
  • chopped mint (to taste).
  • chopped Okinawan spinach leaves

THEN COAT WITH

  • a good slug of olive oil -- EV of course
  • generous slurp of lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt

Taste, adjust... THEN TOSS together...

Set aside to marinate for a wee time and use it as a salad or sauce or toast covering

This is an adaption of a Turkish dish based on cucumbers -- but I find that the choko works better as it remains crisper. Indeed you can really throw a lot of diced choko into the bowl to drown in the delicious herbal mix..

I have a salsa base ferment which I also throw in. That speeds up the flavoring process.

The prickly pear owns its own lemony flavour so it merges with the dish delightfully and adds some stunning health benefits.

Since the pears are available all year they can stand alone in the dish -- ie:choko minus -- but the mix is wetter with the PPs. A variation i love, is to replace the toms with their cousins -- chopped up Tomatillo.  Using tomatillo will make a true 'green sauce' --salsa verde.

ASIDE: Tomatillos keep better than tomatoes -- probably because of their husk. Collecting them is like an Easter egg hunt. Worth it, because they are very versatile. Just harvest them when you are about the garden and bring them inside to sit in the kitchen for future use.

The salsa/Turkish/mezze convergence is a gastronomical thrill worth exploring. Turkish salads (examples) are wetter than Italian and 'more compact'. They are often herb driven.

Salsas are mix and matches. Some are cooked, but the logic is the combo. 

I go out back to forage and bring in an arm full of harvest which chops down to a concentrated mix. Bingo! so many veges in the one bowl.

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Sounds tasty - noticed a lot of wee choco's forming on my vine so will be able to give this a go in the next couple of days.  Thanks for posting Dave.

Wonderful, must try this. I do like the idea of using Tomarillos as a sub for Tomatoes. Thanks for sharing this recipe Dave.

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