When life gives you Aubergines ...

Turns out there is such a thing as a free aubergine!


My real man works for Tesco and every month, to show their appreciation, workers are given a voucher for a freebie. Recently we received an aubergine! Now he doesn’t like aubergine (so far as he knows, I don’t think he’s tried it!) but I do.

If you work for Tesco and are the happy recipient of an aubergine or even if you have to purchase one here are half a dozen good ideas for enjoying it.

Before we start, many years ago it was considered a good idea to disgorge aubergine ie. salting to removed excess bitterness but this is really not necessary these days. I haven’t bothered for years to no detriment, perhaps “they” have bred the bitterness out.

Crisp Aubergine Croutons with Feta Salad

Thanks to my friend Lynne (or Mrs. Gweenie as I call her) in Tortola for this.

Cut the aubi into crouton sized pieces.  Toss in a little seasoned flour to coat, then into beaten egg and finally coat with breadcrumbs and shallow fry in hot oil till crisp.  Serve with a salad containing crumbled feta cheese, fresh tomatoes, red onion and salad leaves in tossed in balsamic vinaigrette. 


Aubergine Pizza

Here’s a lovely easy pizza dough recipe and the beauty of making your own is that you can have a thin and crispy or a thick crust or whatever you fancy.


The trick to making a good aubergine pizza is cooking the aubi a bit first. Cut the aubergine into 5mm or so slices, brush both sides with a little olive oil and season with salt plus anything else you fancy.  Spread in one layer on a baking tray and grill 3-5 minutes per side till tender and golden. Then continue with your pizza.  Good additions would be tomatoes and/or a rich tomato sauce, olives, feta cheese, basil and even, maybe, minced cooked lamb.

Another way to use these tender cooked slices is …

Sandwich cooked slices of aubergine ...

... with cheese (feta or goat cheese are good) and something else delicious such a spicy tomato sauce, coat in breadcrumbs as with the aubergine croutons above and shallow fry on both sides till crisp out the outside and meltingly delicious in the middle.


Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables

You need a mixture of aubergine and other aubi friendly vegetables such peppers (red or yellow taste best), red onion, courgettes and garlic. Cut the veggies (except the garlic!) into similar sized pieces so that they cook at the same rate.  Toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and maybe a little chilli and also the garlic. Roast in a medium hot oven, stirring occasionally, till all is tender and the onions and aubergines are beginning to char; they are delicious like that! Use as a side dish, a sandwich filling, with pasta or on pizza.


Charred Aubergine Slices

Speaking of charring thinly sliced aubi is delicious if you brush lightly with oil, season to taste and grill or fry till soft and starting to blacken in places!  Serve with plain yogurt, garlicky yogurt or Tzatziki. OR as I have done here with yogurt and wild garlic oil (wild garlic leaves puréed with a little olive oil).

Baigan Akari (aubergine in the “pickling style”) – for 6

This was a real winner on our menu at The House on the Strand, a restaurant my sister and I owned in Cornwall throughout the 1980s. We got the recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking and after cooking it for years it may not be exactly as the original but it works really well.

2.5cm/1” fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
6 peeled garlic cloves
60ml water
500g aubergine in 1 cm - ish slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
350g aubergine
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
340g chopped tomatoes – from a tin or carton
2 teaspoons ground coriander
 ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
cayenne and salt to taste

~   Purée together the ginger and garlic in the water.
~   Heat the olive oil and brown the aubergine slices in a single layer cooking both sides, to a lovely reddish brown. If necessary, cook in two batches.  Lift the slices out of the oil and set aside in a sieve to drain off excess. 
~   Add the fennel and cumin seeds to the oil and when they darken slightly and smell fragrant add the chopped tomatoes, the garlic and ginger purée and the coriander and turmeric.
~   Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally till you have a very thick paste-like sauce.
~   Taste and season as you wish with salt and cayenne.
~   Add the aubergine slices and cook covered for about 10 minutes till utterly tender.

This is delicious served hot or cold.

Our free aubergine, it must be said, was very helpful as, I presume, is the one in the picture below.  I have no idea how I’d have coped with an uncooperative aubergine.  



Sue said...

As I have about 18 Aubergine plants all coming along nicely in the polytunnel this post will no doubt be referred to in the not too distant future 😊

In other news .... I used to live in ' Birdseye'.

Sudden Lunch ~ Suzy Bowler said...

I've been there (didn't see you!) but I think Barrow in Furness suits it better.