A Mexican friend of mine told me once that she used cape gooseberries in place of tomatillos in a truly sensational dip/salsa that she makes.Cape gooseberries (Physalis) are both sweet and sharp in flavour. Apparently they are the nearest she can get in terms of flavour to the tomatillo so readily available in Mexico.
My only experience of them in the past is of having them dipped in chocolate in the 80s. They were perfect back then as a small plate decoration so suited to the Nouvelle cuisine of that decade. They certainly didn’t make any sort of impression on me and I never felt the urge to go hunting them out when shopping.
But, last Sunday as part of out Chinese New Year food celebrations, I decided to buy some exotic fruits to have for pudding. After both roast pork and roast duck pancakes I thought it might be a good idea to let the children have a fruit tasting session so I bought lychees, mangoes and the cape gooseberries, aka Physalis.
We enjoyed them all and they made a welcome refreshing sweet end to a very rich and celebratory Chinese meal. But, there were several fruits left over. I was making a potato salad to have that evening and there the discovery was made. These little orange bites found their way into my herbed, salsa verde-like potato salad and they lifted it into something really very good. Their sharp yet sweet flavour was a perfect balance to the rich mustardy dressing so I thought I would share the recipe here with you………