The humble aubergine brings its own aesthetic satisfaction, being very satisfying to hold and admire its beautifully polished deep purple surface. It is versatile and when eating it you will find it in quite a number of guises.
It is popular cooked and presented in dips and salads. Typically the aubergine will be grilled or griddled or baked in oil and other ingredients added. Griddling chars the surface adding flavour and giving the cooked aubergine a satisfying appearance.
One way of presenting aubergines is to cook them, mix them with yoghurt or mayonnaise and whisk them with a hand-blender to form a smooth dip which is satisfying on wholemeal toast. Or you can take some griddled aubergine slices, place them on bread, put sliced tomato and cheese on top, add a few herbs or pesto and grill the whole layered mixture until the cheese melts to make a rarebit.
Aubergines can also be diced and fried with vegetables, adding spices and curry powder and then served on a bed of basmati rice. They are also one of the main ingredients of ratatouille. They can be sliced long-ways and griddled, then baked with cheese to make a gratin or baked as a filling for lasagna. Grilled aubergine slices also go well with couscous and vegetables. For the more exotic taste they can be fried with vegetables and figs and turned into a tagine.
Here is another and different way to prepare this vegetable, which is easy, straightforward, and very popular amongst family and guests.
The recipe below serves four.
You will need:
- Two medium sized aubergines
- Three eggs
- Stoneground self-raising wholemeal flour
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Table Salt
- Ground White Pepper
The cooking method is:
- Start by pouring out a layer of the flour about 1.5 cm thick on to a dinner plate. Add half a teaspoon of ground white pepper and mix this well in to the dry flour to make sure it is evenly distributed.
- Whisk the three eggs with a fork in a soup bowl, adding half a teaspoon of table salt
- Put 1 cm of oil into a frying-pan and start to get it hot
- Wash the aubergines and cut them into 1 cm slices
- Take one of the aubergine slices and dab both sides into the flour until the cut faces are completely covered
- Coat the floured aubergine with the egg on both sides
- Dab both sides again in the flour until completely covered and then transfer to the hot oil
- Repeat for the other slices until the area of the frying pan is covered
- Shallow fry for four minutes each side until golden-brown.
- Remove from frying pan and place the fritters on a wire rack to drain.
- Continue until all the fritters are done (you may need to add more oil and get it hot before continuing)
Tip: You will find that when you have put the slices in the egg, dough starts to form on your fingers. Just scrape this off back onto the flour – it will adhere to the next slices when you are coating them.
Once the fritters are done, you can put any remaining flour into the remaining egg, mix well, and add a little water if necessary to thin the mixture. Then fry them in the rest of the oil to make batter cakes, draining them in the same way as the fritters.
The fritters will have cooled by the time all of them are ready, but they can be re-warmed to serve by placing them on a piece of kitchen paper on a dinner plate and giving them two minutes at full-power in a microwave oven. If you do not finish them all at one meal they can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days and warmed up in the microwave.