When I was a teenager, growing up in places like Libya we came across vegetables that simple were not in the shops in the UK at the time. At least not on the North Norfolk Coast which had been my home till my Dad developed a bad case of wanderlust. Aubergine or eggplant as it’s known in the US was one vegetable that fascinated me, I loved the deep purple skin and I taught myself how to make ratatouille, something I’d only eaten in restaurants in France until then. My family got to eat ratatouille every day for a few weeks that summer.
I suspect it was about that time when imported fruits and vegetables became much more common and you could buy aubergine in the shops. Once I got to University, my shared campus house ran a cooking collective. We all made one evening meal a week, for six nights of the week to feed the six inhabitants. It was not my idea, but it was a very good one! There was no pressure on anyone to turn up other than to their ‘own’ evening. But for the most part we all did…and ate like Kings most of the time (although I still remember the baked bean lasagne that forced us all to the student canteen for supper). It’s a lot cheaper to cook once a week for six than six times a week for one. Again, ratatouille became a staple in the summer, usually served with sausages or some kind of rissoles.
My next experiment with aubergine was to make a parmegiana. Again, I developed a bit of an obsession with parmegiana…either the chicken version or a pure veggie one.
Then came caponata (the leek version is a derivation of the more traditional aubergine type)…and last year I seemed to get a fixation for baba ganoush.
This year, I suspect I might be going back to basics and making this delicious griddled aubergine dish. Once the basic cooking is done, the aubergine slices and yoghurt dip keep very well in the fridge for a few days and can be served at room temperature or warmed up in the oven for a few minutes.
I’ve already posted this recipe as part of a meal idea, but I am in the process of setting all my recipes up in a format that can be printed and indexed more easily. And, this one for Griddled Aubergine is worth trying