I love aubergines and they are my favourite vegetable. However, I didn’t love them growing up and this was partly due to the texture. These days, we can buy a huge variety of different aubergines and these can have a variety of skin colours but are often purple.
The aubergine belongs to the nightshade plant family including tomatoes, potatoes and peppers and they grow on vines just like tomatoes. They are a good source of vitamins B1 and B6 and minerals potassium, copper, magnesium and manganese as well as being high in soluble fibre. They are especially high in antioxidants, particularly, nasunin which gives aubergine its purple colour. Nasunin scavenges free radicals and protects the fatty acids in the brain cell membranes, which is important for healthy brain function. There are some studies which show that phenol compounds and antioxidants in aubergines might help control glucose absorption by increasing key inhibitory enzymes, thereby supporting type diabetes management and reducing hypertension.
Previously, we were taught to salt aubergines to remove bitterness but this is no longer necessary as the aubergines are much fresher. I prefer to roast aubergine than pan fry as the pieces absorb less oil. I vary the shapes - dice, slice or cut in half and I will explain how I cook these. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 350f/ gas mark 4.
1. Cut the aubergines into half lengthwise.
2. Score the aubergine (ie make cuts but only a few mm deep)
diagonally and repeat in the other direction.
3. Brush with a little extra olive oil
4. Arrange on a lined train and roast for 35 – 45 min
depending on the size of the aubergine.
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