Preparing and Cooking Aubergines or Eggplants
This vegetable is usually cooked in oil to be served as an accompanying vegetable, or stuffed with a variety of fillings and baked. The oblong or round fruits keep fresh for longer than most other vegetables, especially if they are stored in the salad basket of a refrigerator.
To prepare aubergines, wipe them clean with a damp cloth and trim off both ends. They may be peeled or left unpeeled, and for plain cooking are then cut crossways into thin slices. Sprinkle the slices with salt, and leave to stand for 30 minutes to draw out the bitter juices.
Rinse in cold water and dry thoroughly. Fry in butter or oil until golden-brown.
Drain on absorbent kitchen paper and serve with either grilled or roast meat.
Chopped basil or marjoram go well with fried aubergine slices, or they may be sprinkled with black pepper, ground ginger or paprika.
2 large aubergines
Salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon garlic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh chopped marjoram or basil
6 tablespoons salad oil
Garnish: grated lemon peel
COOKING TIME: 10 minutes
CHILLING TIME: 2 hours
Peel the aubergines thinly and cut into narrow slices. Blanch for 5 minutes in boiling salted water; drain and leave to cool, then dry and arrange in a salad bowl. Mix the garlic with the lemon juice and vinegar, add the marjoram and season with salt and pepper. Gradually blend in the oil, and, pour this dressing over the aubergines, turning until well coated. Chill in the refrigerator.
Serving Sprinkle the salad with finely grated lemon peel. Serve as a side salad, or as a first course with hot buttered toast.
Variation Serve the aubergine slices in a yoghourt or soured-cream dressing. Garnish with chopped parsley or halved, stoned black olives.
AUBERGINES A LA GRECQUE
1/2 pint (300 ml) dry cider
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 coriander seeds
Juice of lemon
1 small hay leaf
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bouquet garni
Salt and black pepper
Garnish: chopped basil
COOKING TIME: 25 minutes
CHILLING TIME: 2 hours
Peel the aubergines, and dice them into 1 in. (25 mm) cubes. Put all the remaining ingredients with 1/2 pint (300ml) water into a pan, seasoning with salt and black pepper. Bring this sauce to the boil, add the diced aubergines and bring back to the boil.
Simmer the aubergines for 15 minutes; until they are tender but still intact. Lift them into a dish with a perforated spoon, and boil the sauce rapidly until it has reduced by a quarter. Strain the sauce over the aubergines, allow to cool, then chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Serving Spoon the aubergines and the sauce into deep plates. Sprinkle with chopped basil and serve as a first course.
Salt and pepper
1 large, finely hopped onion
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
11b. (500g) lean minced beef or lamb
2 teaspoons tomato puree
5 fl. oz (150 ml) beef stock
1 oz (25g) butter
1 oz (25g)flour
pint (300 ml) milk
COOKING TIME: 1-1/2 hours
OVEN TEMPERATURE: 180°C (350°F) —mark 4
Peel the aubergines and cut crossways into narrow slices. Arrange in a single layer on a dish, sprinkle with salt and leave for 30 minutes.
Fry the onion in 1 tablespoon of the oil until soft; add the meat and continue cooking, stirring all the time, until brown and thoroughly sealed. Stir in the tomato puree and stock, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and simmer for about 30 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Drain the aubergine slices, rinse thoroughly and pat dry with absorbent paper. Fry the slices in the remaining oil until golden, then drain well on paper.
Arrange a layer of aubergine slices in a buttered ovenproof dish and cover with a layer of meat. Continue with these layers, finishing with aubergines.
Make a white sauce from the butter, flour and milk; season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and beat in the egg. Spoon the sauce over the aubergines and hake in the centre of a warns oven for 35-40 minutes.
Serving Serve straight from the dish as a meal on its own, perhaps accompanied with a green or tomato salad.
Variation Cover the moussaka with 2 eggs beaten with 4 tablespoons of plain yoghourt and 2 tablespoons of flour, instead of with the white sauce. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and dot with butter.