The summer garden - plus roasted plantains - in a taco, with a super-tasty twist on chimichurri. Although there are a few steps, this is an easy recipe. I promise. And you wish to make double of the roasted eggplant topping to use elsewhere over the next few days.
Heat the oven to 210C/425F.
For the plantains, use a knife to pare away the thick and sometimes quite stubborn peel. Cut the plantain flesh in half lengthways and then chop into pieces. Rub with the oil and place in an even layer onto a baking paper-lined baking tray (or two). Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip the pieces and carry on for another 8 minutes. Decant into a bowl, cover lightly and set aside.
If you haven't already stripped the corn from the cob, do so by upending the flat end on a chopping board. Use a heavy chef's knife to slice (confidently and patiently) down against the cob at a slight angle, until the kernels come away. And tumble this way and that.
Now heat a skillet on medium-high - no need for oil - and add the kernels, cooking until quite a few are browned and all smells very toasty. Shake the pan occasionally whilst cooking. Set aside.
Meanwhile - or following the corn - pierce the eggplants in 3-4 places and place on a medium gas flame - across the iron bars to steady it. Turn the eggplants with tongs as they cook and shrivel - and steam puffs from the holes. This should take around 10 minutes. One needs to quite attentive to ensure even cooking and no uncooked bits when it comes to peeling the eggplant in a moment. This is also the technique I use to make baba ganoush (which I will share soon). You may do this on a BBQ grill. Or in a 225C (440F) oven for 45 minutes. Oh, and either open some doors/windows or turn your extract fan on high!
Remove the shrivelled and floppy eggplants to a tray and allow them to cool just until they are okay to peel with either your fingers or a paring knife. I tend to use my fingers to pull away the charred skin. Don'y worry about getting every single little charred bit off as it is a near-impossible task. Chop the flesh into bite-sized pieces and add to a medium bowl. Stir in the yogurt, za'atar and salt. Set aside.
Make the Cilantro Chimichurri (see below) and chop the tomatoes. Save a few sprigs of cilantro if you like for garnish.
When you are ready for eating either place the soft corn tortillas in a foil or baking paper packet and bake for 5 minutes (making sure the oven is still on from the plantains), or warm directly and carefully on a gas flame/BBQ grill. I do the latter but the former is less of a faff.
To eat, pop some plantain bits onto each tortilla, then spoon over some yogurty, smoky eggplant and charred corn, as well as the chopped tomatoes. Serve with a dollop of the zesty cilantro chimichurri. Or plop everything into serving bowls/plates and let diners sort their own tacos.
You will probably not need all of the sauce for this recipe but it keeps well in the refrigerator for up to one week.
If you don't have the plantain, try this with sweet potato or a hard squash such as butternut. Treat similarly but adding an extra 10 minutes to the cooking time.
Get the best ingredients that you can for this. We are cooking these very simply so lesser quality has no place to hide. If possible get traditionally made corn tortillas made with masa harina. The difference in taste between these and typical supermarket ones (with all of those additives) is very striking.