March to April 2017
Aubergines … brinjals … melanzane … eggplant – delicious from our garden most of summer and into Autumn.
Their subtle and distinctive combination of textures and flavours – smooth, fleshy, creamy, smoky – make them a versatile and beguiling component of many great dishes.
Choose aubergines that feel heavy with smooth, taut, unblemished skin and fresh-looking unwithered green stalks.
Aubergines are easily damaged; handle with care. They keep in the fridge for a few days.
In the past it was normal to salt aubergines to remove bitterness and moisture. Nowadays aubergines are rarely too bitter and this step can be safely omitted.
Slices of aubergine can be griddled, sauteed, stewed or fried. However aubergines tend to soak up oil like a sponge. For a lighter touch, roast whole aubergines in a hot oven for 30 (firm) to 45 minutes (soft). Wait until cool enough to handle, then the skin can be easily peeled off and the flesh chopped and added to your recipe. The seeds are edible but can be discarded according to use / preference.
For added smokiness, cook whole aubergines on the barbecue or over a gas flame until soft and lightly charred before peeling and chopping as above.