Did you know that the aubergine is technically a fruit, or more precisely, a berry related to potato? Find yourself out of ideas when it comes to these spongey, glossy fruits? Here are five refreshing things to do with the versatile aubergine – the fruit we use as a vegetable and look a bit like a they’ve stepped out of a child’s sketchbook.
1. Aubergine Wraps with Goats Cheese, Fig and Bacon
Quarter 3 figs, place on a baking try and drizzle with honey and orange juice. Slice an aubergine thinly lengthways. Place on baking parchment on another tray and brush with oil and season with salt. Bake both the figs and aubergine in the oven at 200C until tender, about 15 mins. Mix the figs with a creamy goat cheese, (try Rosary Goats Log), and pieces of fried crispy bacon. Dollop the cheese mix onto a length of aubergine, roll into a wrap and fasten with a cocktail stick. You can replace bacon with mint or a cured ham like prosciutto.
2. Spiced Roast Aubergine with Quinoa and Yoghurt
Cut 2 aubergines in half lengthways and score the flesh at diagonals, being careful not to go through to the skin. Place on a baking tray cut side up. Mix together crushed garlic, paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, lemon zest, chilli flakes with salt and olive oil. Spread the spice mix over the aubergines and roast in the oven at 200C until soft. Bring 150 g of quinoa to the boil in 300ml water, take down to a simmer, cover and leave for 15 mins (keep an eye on it!). When cooked add chopped coriander, mint, spring onions and lemon juice. Top with greek yoghurt, more herbs, chopped pistachios and olive oil.
3. Bloomin’ good Baba Ghanoush
This smokey dip comes in many guises, but adjust ingredients and quantities with abandon to make it how you like it. Score whole aubergines with a knife and place under a hot grill for an hour, turning every 15 mins or so (keep an eye on these too!) – you want to blacken them. When cool, cut them lengthways, scoop out the flesh and discard the skin. Drain in a colander for at least 30mins, and place in a bowl with crushed garlic, lemon juice, chopped mint and parsley, olive oil and salt and pepper. Extras you can add are a few pomegranate seeds, and a couple of tablespoons of tahini. Stir everything together and enjoy.
4. Marinated Aubergine, Garlic, Chilli and Caper Salad
Cut round slices of aubergine around 5mm thick and toss with sea salt. Leave for 30 mins and in the meantime crush garlic, chilli, capers, parsley and mint in a with a pestle and mortar. Wash the aubergine to remove the salt, pat dry and brush with olive oil. Shallow fry in a single layer (you might need to do this in batches) until golden brown. Layer in a dish with the herb mix and drizzles of olive oil. Leave in the fridge for at least 6 hours, and serve at room temperature.
5. Aubergine, Freekeh, Chickpea and Mint Salad
Cut 2 aubergines into 2cm slices widthways. Mix with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and dashes of salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer onto a baking tray and roast at 30mins at 200C until tender. You could place a tray of water at the bottom of the oven to stop the aubergine drying out. Toast 150g of freekeh in a dry, heavy saucepan over a medium heat, shaking and stirring until fragrant, for 2-3 minutes. Cover with 300ml water and simmer for 20mins, or until the water has been absorbed. Combine the freekeh with cooked chickpeas, chopped mint, chopped shallots, lemon juice, crushed garlic and toasted cumin. Add the aubergine, drizzle with olive oil and scatter with more mint, salt and plenty of pepper.
From purple striped to Black Pearl, see all aubergines on Farmdrop