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Easy Aubergine Recipes
Choose plump glossy specimens. Aubergines are pretty good at resisting pesticidal residues, so if you’re on a budget, you may prefer to save the pennies for, say, organic tomatoes, lettuce or cucumber.
Aubergines will absorb what appears to be three times their own body weight in butter or oil if cooked in a frying pan. Adding a little water or stock, and putting a lid on the pan, is the only way forward, in our opinion. We’ve never noticed that scrubbing them in salt achieved much either. Do not serve uncooked aubergine: it contains allergenic proteins which can lead to itching or dermatitis
Roast aubergine on toast is a nice tapas or canapé. Thick slices of aubergine can be used instead of bread to provide a base for towers of food (small or large) which always look great: think of stacked-up slices of cooked aubergine, tomato and mozzarella, drizzled with olive oil and scattered with Greek basil (tiny little leaves)
§ Baba ganoush
Char aubergines on a grill or barbecue until soft and tender, then mash the flesh with a little garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and plenty of tahini (about one big tablespoon per average aubergine). Season. Serve like hummous: on flatbreads, drizzled with olive oil and scattered with nuts or pomegranate seeds
Suvlaki, a Greek restaurant in Soho that is working with Michelin-starred chef Alfred Prasad, has created a bestselling moussaka. This is courgette, black quinoa and Mastelo cheese wrapped in slices of aubergine, served with rich tomato & garlic moussaka sauce (click HERE for the full recipe).
Alternatively, try the traditional British 1970s dish: layers of spiced minced lamb, fried aubergine, white sauce and cheese, baked together in a casserole dish. Dozens of variations exist; hunt online for whichever suits you best. Serve with tomato salsa & flatbread
§ Spring rolls
Use thin-sliced aubergine like a spring roll wrap. Bake in the oven with oil, salt and pepper, 15 mins. Try a Mediterranean filling like goat’s cheese, dates & pine nuts
§ Moroccan tagine
Another great veggie option. Bake whole baby aubergines with lemon slices and mint leaves for a satisfying main course
§ Roots in Beirut
The chef at Veggie Lad’s local Lebanese restaurant swears by his simple aubergine: fry thick slices in sunflower oil (this is crucial) with salt, pepper and sumac or Ras-el-hanout. It’s creamy and delicious
§ Pie Crust
This exciting alternative to pie crust is traditional in Mediterranean cooking. Thin-slice an aubergine, season and grill for 2-3 mins each side. Line the bottom and sides of a cake tin with the slices. Add the pie filling, top with more slices or a cheesy crumb. Bake 20 mins
Here is Gennaro Contaldo’s take on Aubergine Parmigiana (reminiscent of cannelloni; looks absolutely delicious):
For more informative, or amusing, vids, try our YouTube channel.
Sir Walter Raleigh must have wondered why he bothered. His discovery of nightshade plants caused nothing but consternation across Europe. Potatoes were un-Christian and caused leprosy; tomatoes were shunned as ‘poison-apples;’ and anyone daft enough to eat an aubergine (‘mad-apple’) would descend into a lunatic state. Italians eventually plucked up the courage to give aubergines a try, but they never caught on in Britain until the 1970s: resplendent in a kaftan, Demis Roussos conquered the British middle class and launched a thousand moussakas.
We hope the above ideas might provide some inspiration. We do update entries, so check back any time. Click HERE for more ingredients.
NB we’ve mentioned seasoning a few times in this page. If you like pink Himalayan salt, get 25% off Saltan by quoting code ‘Taster25’ — we’ve tried it and it’s excellent.