Gastronomic trial and error in Essex, London and now Bristol.
Sunday, 30 June 2013
Spiced Aubergine Salad
First things first, if you don’t already own it, and you have even the slightest interest in cooking, I urge you to immediately drop everything and hurry as fast as your legs can propel you towards the nearest bookshop. Once there, forcibly demand a copy of Simon Hopkinson’s ‘Roast Chicken and Other Stories’. It is without a doubt one of the finest recipe books ever printed; you will never regret buying it.
Perusing the contents, you’ll find that every recipe is a classic, they all work beautifully and it’s surprisingly comprehensive for such a small volume.
Where am I going with this? Well, my newly acquired Lamb Ste Menehould addiction has sparked a renewed interest in Elizabeth David’s recipes and Simon Hopkinson; who is also a fan, features a few in his book.
I’m sure you know who Elizabeth David is, but just in case you’re unsure, she was a hugely revered British cookery writer who pretty much singlehandedly changed the national outlook towards cooking and food in post-war Britain, still under rationing until 1954. Her books and articles inspired generations of cooks and chefs and still do to this day.
Apparently this spiced aubergine salad was one of her favourite dishes and appears in ‘Roast Chicken and Other Stories’. Typical of Simon Hopkinson, there are no shortcuts, everything is done properly and exactly so, and all the better for it. So prepare to skin your tomatoes and salt your aubergines.
This dish, similar to imam bayildi is absolutely delicious and handily, best served cold. So no need to rush making it. Definitely serve it with the mint yoghurt, maybe a bowl of brown rice or some toasted pita bread wouldn’t go amiss either.
Spiced Aubergine Salad Serves 4
You’ll need: - 2 large aubergines salt 100ml olive oil 2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped 8 ripe tomatoes, skinned and coarsely chopped 1 heaped tsp ground cumin 1 heaped tsp ground allspice ¼ tsp cayenne 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped 2 tbsp currants 2 heaped tbsp chopped fresh mint 2 heaped tbsp chopped fresh coriander
You’ll also need: - Greek yoghurt Handful of mint leaves Tabasco
Cut the aubergines into 1cm cubes. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with 2 tsp of salt. Mix and leave to drain for 30-40 mins.
Meanwhile, heat 50ml of olive oil in a pan and fry the onions until golden.
Add the tomatoes and spices. Stew gently for 5-10 minutes, then stir in the garlic and take off the heat.
Stir in the currants.
Tip the aubergines into a clean tea towel and gently squeeze them dry.
Put the remaining 50ml of olive oil in a large frying pan and heat until smoking. Add the aubergines and stir-fry briskly until thoroughly golden and cooked through.
Into this stir in the onion and tomato mixture, add the fresh herbs.
Tip everything into a bowl and leave to cool. Taste and add salt & pepper, if needed.
Serve with a bowl of yoghurt containing fresh chopped mint through it and a few dashes of Tabasco to liven it up.
Until recently Essex - Now 'on tour' in Bristol, United Kingdom
"I wouldn't call it so much a peek as a full blown expose of your innermost culinary pretentions and ambitions. You're effectively rolling over and exposing the soft paunch of your underbelly and asking to be caressed. You're a culinary whore!"