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Tag: aubergine

A Taste of Autumn.. Aubergine Parmigiana

OO&L Aubergine Parnigiana

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This is a dish that we often have and I have worked on this recipe for many years before declaring myself satisfied. I lay the blame for all the work firmly at the feet of an 80 year old grandfather of the family whose farmhouse we stayed at in Italy a number of years ago. He prepared what has to have been the most amazing melanzane parmigiana I have ever tasted in my life. I wasn’t home long before I started trying to recreate it – I have to say that it has never been quite as delicious as that one but there is something magical about the Italian countryside which probably colors my memories. This one is still good enough to ensure the plates will be licked clean. If you don’t have any pesto, it will still be good but with the pesto it is elevated to the status of absolutely yummy.

Aubergine Parmigiana – a delicious meat free dish, full of great flavours, with many essential B-complex vitamins, minerals all offering potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.

Oven at 170C
Feeds 4

3-4 small/medium or 2 large Aubergine
6 tbsp Polenta or more if needed to coat each slice
6 tbsp Oil for frying

1 large bottle of tomato passata (I use Bunalun organic)
4 tbsp basil pesto

1 round of mozzarella
2 oz grated parmesan
1 10″ by 8″ dish

Wash, top and tail the aubergine and cut into long slices about 5mm thick
Line a large bowl with the slices, sprinkle with lots of salt and allow to drain.
(This is a really handy method as the liquid all drains into the bottom of the bowl)
Wipe with a piece of kitchen paper
Tip polenta onto a flat plate
Press both sides of aubergine into polenta to coat
Heat the oil to hot and
fry the aubergine in batches
Don’t overcrowd and you may need to wipe out the pan between batches
Drain on absorbent paper

Stir the pesto into the tomato pasasta
Cover the base of your dish with some of the sauce
Press a layer of aubergine into the sauce
Season and sprinkle over some of the mozzarella,
Cover with more sauce.
Continue until you have no more aubergine
Finish with sauce and the Parmesan cheese

Bake at 170C covered for 30 minutes
Uncover and bake for the final 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted, the top is golden brown.

2 Recipes for Aubergines

I think I have mentioned how I have a love hate relationship with Aubergines – sometimes a bit spongy when not cooked right but delicious when they are. Even the fact that you can buy one that looks perfect from the outside but gone off when you cut into it still hasn’t stopped me from continuing to buy and cook them. I think it is the colour of them that keeps me coming back to them, beautiful pinky purple to almost ink black. So here are 2 recipes for Aubergines – seen as I went a bit over the top recently, we had them a few times during the week hence 2 recipes to share. The first is a dish of Aubergines moroccan style, sticky and spicy,delicious as a side with chickpeas or lentil curry. The second is a handy recipe for Baba Ghanoush, great with lamb or a side of vegetables only for dipping and always good as a lunch option for work. Both of these recipes have wonderful ingredients, healthy for the body, vitamins and minerals, cholesterol lowering and immunity boosting garlic, Vitamin C and antioxidants from the lemon, a circulatory boost from the ginger and a blood flow boost from the harissa.

Baba Ghanoush
1 large aubergine about one lb
3 tbsp tahini
2 cloves garlic minced
4 tbsp plain Greek yoghurt
Juice of half a lemon
25gr flat leaf parsley chopped, with a little reserved for the top
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Split the aubergine in half lengthways and prick it all over and bake for about 20 minutes until soft and tender.
When cool enough to handle, scoop out the inside and discard the skin
Mash the aubergine and add the tahini, garlic, yoghurt, lemon juice, salt and extra virgin olive oil.
Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Tip into a bowl, garnish with some more parsley and a drizzle of olive oil

Grilled Morroccan Aubergine in spices
1 Aubergine,cut in half lengthways and into wedges
2 cloves garlc crushed
2″ piece of ginger peeled and grated
1 tsp harissa
1 tsp ground cuimin
3 tbsp honey
juice of half a lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat a frying pan
Brush the cut sides of the aubergine ith olive oil and cook on either side until browned
remove from the pan while you cook the garlic in a little oil for a minute then stir in the harissa, honey and the lemon juice.
Add enough water to cover the base of the pan and then lay the aubergine wedges in 1 layer
Cook them for about 10-15 minutes turning half way through the cooking. They will have absorbed most of the sauce during the cooking – if not, turn up the heat to reduce further.

The Med on a plate

Vegetable Stew
I nearly missed the first episode of Sicily Unpacked on BBC2 but just turned on as they visited the food market of Palermo. Seeing the fresh produce and all the beautiful colours of the fruits and vegetables made me nostalgic for my time in Italy and I just had to recreate the dish they prepared just to feel a bit closer to that wonderful country. Then the olive oil scandal hit the press here and I wasn’t even sure if the olive oil I had dressed it with was actually Italian…. Rather than worry about it, the oil I used tasted really good, said it was extra virgin and from Italy so until I hear otherwise I will trust that the product I bought is in fact what is says on the tin.

This dish is the Mediterranean on a plate, is full of lovely flavours and is delicious with a piece of grilled fish or chicken. It can also be served cold and is lovely with some rocket or flat leaf parsley stirred through it also. While classic recipes don’t always have peppers in this, I had some so included them in the recipe as they seem to go very well with the other ingredients. Use good olive oil to dress this at the end but you can use ordinary for the cooking process. Cook this on a medium rather than hot heat and this delicious stew should be ready in about 20 minutes from the last chop.

Sicilian Caponata

Serves 4-6
1 large onion, finely sliced
4 celery stalks washed and sliced
1 red and yellow pepper deseeded and cut into 1” pieces
2 lbs aubergines, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 tbsp salted capers, soaked in water and drained
5 tablespoons green olives, stoned ( I did not have them at the time so left out)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 oz tomato passata or puree
5 tbsp olive oil
2 oz pine nuts toasted
Salt and pepper

Blanche the onion and celery in lightly salted water for about 3 minutes, then drain.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the aubergine chunks and gently fry until brown and tender. If your pan is small you may have to cook them in batches. Add the pepers, onion, celery and all the remaining ingredients except for the pine nuts. Season, Stir well, then cover and cook for about 15 minutes on a medium heat. Check from time to time and add water if it appears to dry out and moderate the heat a little. Remove the lid for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
A final season to taste with salt and pepper and just before serving stir in the toasted pine nuts and drizzle over some more lovely extra virgin olive oil. I love the flavous of this hot or cold – Enjoy and let me know what you think…..

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