I am always looking for new and interesting ways to cook aubergines. Why? Well my like of them only goes so far. I can enjoy them in things as long as the pieces are quite small. Or cooked like my old friend Michael used to cook it, as per his very Italian mama had taught him. However that was back in the days when I could still eat dairy..Gosh that seems like a whole other lifetime now. lol. I would pretty much do anything for his Mama's Eggplant Parmesan..in fact it was the first meal with aubergine in it that I had ever eaten and hoped for seconds! Thank goodness for that lovely Italian/American friend with his pushy ways. lol. His husband agreed wholly with that sentiment. lol.
So I started to experiment with the purple loveliness. And I've made some disasters let me tell you. lol. But it is purely personal disasters as My Love sat there quite happily eating the dishes whilst I sat watching, picking at it and devouring my side veggies. I really don't like aubergine that is 'woody' or tough. It has to be cooked until it's very soft and succulent. I have tried many stuffed aubergine recipes and I experience an almost phobic horror if the skins aren't tender. So you could say it's a constant battle...lol.
It helped when I discovered Linda Majzlik's cookbook series. I have tried almost all of the aubergine recipes that she included in the books. And there have only been 4 that I didn't like but once again My Love ate happily...although I was told that they were "'..Very auberginey!" lol. This recipe is one that I love..the aubergine I cut into small dice and I've adapted it very slightly over the years. I usually make a double batch...but use 12oz aubergine and 12oz courgette and sometimes I included some bite size pieces of cauliflower. I make the double batch because this keeps well in the fridge as leftovers for those nights when cooking is the last thing either of us want to do (Yeah..OK...that's not that often for me..lol But I am human lol) or I freeze half, as it defrosts and reheats well. The recipe below is how I make it so it will make a good pan full. You can find the original recipe in Linda Majzlik's A Vegan Taste of the Middle East
|Aubergine, Courgette, Cauliflower and Borlotti Beans|
Aubergine with Borlotti Beans Makes 8 servings
(Recipe adapted from A Vegan Taste of the Middle East/Majzlik)
12oz/350g aubergine, trimmed and finely diced
12oz/350g courgette, trimmed and finely diced
1 14oz tin of borlotti beans, rinsed and drained
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 tbsp Rotina Healthy cooking oil or oil of choice
12oz/350g fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
4 tbsp water
2 dsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
black pepper to season
2 dsp lemon juice
fresh basil leaves to garnish
Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the onions and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the aubergine and courgettes and stir well to combine. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a bowl combine the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, thyme, cayenne, bayleaves and water and stir well to combine. Set to one side.
Toss the cauliflower bites in at this stage if you are using them. Then add the tomato mix into the pan, season well with black pepper and stir well. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and cover, cooking for 15minutes. Stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
Add the beans and the lemon juice and re-season to taste. Continue simmering for a few minutes longer. Then transfer to a warm serving bowl and garnish with the basil leaves.
Enjoy! And once again a big thank you to Linda Majzlik!