I struggled finding exciting recipes for the Comoro Islands/the Comoros (but not the Comoros Islands). That is, until I started Googling in French. BOOM! A whole new world!
I went for a green papaya gratin from La Comorienne, even though the recipe had pictures of a regular (fully matured) papaya. Meh.
For an African dish, this tasted surprisingly European, mostly resembling mashed potato + a béchamel sauce. That’s probably why my wife loved this so much. 😉
This would ideally be served alongside a chicken/meat dish, but we had it as a stand-alone dinner.
PAPAYES VERTES AU GRATIN (original French recipe at La Comorienne)
- 3 green papayas
- 350ml milk
- 20g butter
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 5 sprigs of parsley
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 125g grated Gruyère
- 5 spring onions
- 1 shallot
- a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- salt & pepper
- Wash and quarter the papayas. Remove the seeds (The original recipe didn’t mention this, but I’m guessing you don’t want to be left with a mouthful of peppery papaya seeds when you bite into this, do you?). Boil in salted water for 20 minutes. Drain.
- Peel the boiled papayas and pass them through a passe-vite/food mill (whatever you call it). Drain well. (In all honesty, I blitzed mine in a blender.)
- Finely chop the spring onions, shallot, parsley and garlic. Fry in a bit of oil along with the sprigs of thyme.
- Add the papaya purée and mix well.
- In a separate saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and pour in the milk, before adding salt, pepper and nutmeg. Keep stirring, bringing to the boil over a low heat until the sauce thickens somewhat.
- Add half of the Gruyère and pour in the sauce with the papaya mixture.
- Pour into an oven dish, top with the remaining Gruyère and bake in a hot oven for about 10 minutes.
PS: I came across a few green papaya gratin recipes in French, including one with 200g of lardons. Lardons. Really? They seemed like a stretch in my African state of mind, so I went with this recipe instead.