Aubergines to the rescue

I think aubergines are beautiful. If there would be a vegetables beauty contest (mental note: something to think about and initiate on the blog in the future), sort of a‘Miss/Mister Vegetable’ I’d vote for the aubergine. I like their deep purple color, the glossiness of their skin, and their shape. And all this before I even get to talk about their taste … Originally from India, aubergines have been cultivated in Asia since prehistoric times. Then, over 1500 years ago, they were brought over by Arabs to the Western world. Ever since aubergines worked their way up as one of our favorite vegetable. And I can only agree with that.

I could easily rate the aubergine as one of my Top 5 vegetable. Probably because we used to eat them a lot at home (caviar, stuffed, baked, fried, grilled, you name it). Or because it is one of the vegetables I like to cook and I think its texture and taste offers such a variation.

So with aubergines plenty in the house (again, courtesy of the Marché du Midi), last evening I cooked them in two different dishes. The range of dishes you can create with aubergines is endless, and ideas are shaping themselves for other recipes to be tried out over the weekend. The caviar d’aubergines will surely be one of them.

However, last evening I cooked a simple pasta dish with grilled sliced aubergines, olive oil, a handful of grated parmesan and some olives (to be eaten today, for lunch) and, the star of the evening, stuffed aubergines. Delicious, but time consuming. If there is one (small) complaint I have about aubergines, is that cooking them takes some time.

I halve the aubergines in their length, and then scoop the flesh out (soup spoons come in very handy). The stuffing I use varies on the ingredients I have in the house. I chop the aubergine flesh and fry it in olive oil, with garlic, onions, salt and black pepper. Then I add minced meat, and finally the rest of veggies (cubed tomatoes, corn, peppers, etc). When the meat is done, I mix fresh herbs and black olives in the stuffing, and divide the mixture between the two aubergines halves. The best bit is adding the cheese on top, be it mozzarella or parmesan (lots of it, and ideally one that melts nicely in the oven) – and off, in the oven. Depending on the size of the aubergines, the cooking time can vary from 20min to 1h.

Served hot, it is truly a very nice dish, where a lot of flavors mix and, to me, a little bit of Greece enters your house.

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