Food and Recipes
The Colour Purple: The Aubergine
What do we know about the Aubergine?
The aubergine is also known as the eggplant and belongs to the nightshade family. The deep purple colour vegetable has a shiny skin and is quite large. In Italian it is called Melanzana and widely used in Italian cuisine. It was given the name 'eggplant' because there is a white variation that resembles an egg.
The aubergine arrived in Europe around the 15th century having been introduced by the Arabs. They are native to India.
Well known dishes: Melanzana Parmigiana (Italian), Moussaka (Greek), Abergine Tajine (African), Brinjal (Indian) to name just a few!
There are infinite ways to use aubergines... Coated in breadcrumbs or a light batter and then fried is something I want to try...
Nutrition: Aubergines are a good source of dietary fibre, calcium, antioxidants and vitamins including vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamin and niacin. They are virtually fat free and low in calories, sodium and cholesterol and high in folic acid.
Recipe: Aubergine and Mozzarella Bake
3 table spoons Olive Oil
1 Chopped Onion
3 Chopped Garlic Cloves
1 700g bottle chopped tomatoes sauce
2 Large Aubergines
1 Mozzarella Ball - drained and cut into pieces
Salt and Pepper
Heat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF) or Gas 6.
Add one tablespoon of the olive oil to a sauce pan and add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened and then add the garlic and cook for another minute, careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the tomatoes and stir well. Season with a little more salt and pepper. Allow the sauce to simmer gently for about 25 minutes.
Now slice the aubergines lengthways into slices not too thin. Coat the slices of aubergine slices with olive oil and again season with salt and pepper on both sides. Using a griddle pan cook the slices until golden brown on each slice.
Have a baking dish ready and spoon a little of the tomato salsa on the bottom and place the aubergine slices. Add more sauce and some of the mozzarella cheese. Then repeat using all the sauce/salsa.
Finish with the aubergine slices on top and add the remaining mozzarella cheese. Repeat the process for another two layers finishing with tomato sauce and the mozzarella.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until the mozzarella has melted and is golden in colour. Optional: add some basil leaves before serving.