An aubergine salad

On the advice of an Aunt I made an aubergine salad last night. Having set out my ten aubergine recipes last week she reminded me that Simon Hopkinson has a chapter on them in his book Roast Chicken & Other Stories – once voted the best cookbook ever.

She directed me to page 19 and an Elizabeth David recipe. It was straightforward to cook as I made a vast bowl of chicken noodle soup for various kids to eat.

The veg shop is selling vast Spanish onions – some of them almost six inches wide. We’d had one of these onions for lunch on top of the pizza and I used up the second for the salad.

It was cut into slices and then left to cook down in a wide pan with olive oil – the same pan I had used for lunch. After half an hour or so the onions was soft and glistening gold. I stirred in eight chopped plum tomatoes and a mix of spices – cumin, all-spice and cayenne. That all cooked some more whilst I sorted the aubergine.

The recipe suggested that you use your largest frying pan. I used a wok. The recipe was ambivalent as to the need to salt the aubergines. I tend to do it but rather than rinsing and drying them off in a tea towel I like to take up the pieces in my hand and squeeze out the moisture in my fist.

Having done that I put them in a bowl and stirred in some more olive oil. The wok then went on a very high heat and as it started to smoke I tipped in the aubergines. They seethed and spluttered and cooked quickly filling the kitchen with smoke.

Once the aubergines were done I poured the onion/tomato mixture over them and stirred it in with chopped mint and basil. The recipe had coriander instead of the basil but I had the basil in front of me and it needed eating. Writing this now I realise I forgot to stir in some chopped garlic at the end.

We ate it anyway with couscous and some tuna steaks and very good it was to.

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So thank you to Gill for reminding me. I should also thank her for giving me the book for my birthday some years ago – although according to the card that is still inside it was late!

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