I don’t think aubergine features nearly enough on British plates. One problem is that it’s regarded as “queer gear” and not many people know how to go about preparing it. Vegetarians and vegans would know what a versatile vegetable it is and that it can potentially feature in a multitude of dishes. Perhaps I could convince you to give it a whirl by publishing one recipe at a time where it stars as the main ingredient.
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If you like dips, such as Guacamole and Salsa, you’ll love Greek cuisine which offers a plethora of different flavours and textures such as Tzatziki and Htipiti. Who could show us how it’s meant to be done? Well, my friends at The Real Greek restaurant chain in London, of course!
At its Stratford branch, Alan May, who is the executive chef, gave me a truly educational demonstration.
The hardest part, which isn’t difficult at all, is cooking the actual aubergine. All it involves is halving each one, making crisscross incisions in its flesh with a sharp knife, sprinkling it with olive oil and seasoning it. Ideally, you barbecue the eggplant to give it a unique, irreplaceable smoky flavour. Alternatively, you can place them in the oven on the highest setting and keep a keen eye on it. You know it’s cooked when the skin has blackened, the flesh has browned and when you poke it with a finger the flesh gives way offering no resistance.
After that you just wait for the eggplant to cool down and then you can scoop out all the flesh and chop it finely.
Once you have your aubergine puree, this is where the fun starts because you can take the base in different directions depending on what your tongue fancies at the time. For the Greek way, you use lemon, garlic, spring onions, coriander and parsley. Chop it all up, give it a good mix and it’s done!
Let me warn you though. This stuff is heavily addictive and the serving bowl will be licked clean before you know it. So here’s my tip. Go to the market and buy a lot of aubergines cheap cheap. Cook them all at once to save on time and labour and keep a big bowl of Melitzanosalata in the fridge to dip into when hunger strikes. It’s a fabulous way to enjoy a light lunch on a hot day and is best served with flatbread, crudités or breadsticks.
You’re welcome. You can thank me in the comments below!
The perfect dip for hot summer days with some barbecued meat.
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 125ml (½ cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 150g (5oz) spring onion, thinly sliced
- 35g (1oz) parsley
- 35g (1oz) coriander
- 700g (1½ lb) cooked eggplant puree
- 5g (1tsp) salt
- 3g (½ tsp) ground black pepper
- 30ml (2tbsp) lemon juice
- In a food processor blitz together extra virgin olive oil and garlic and set aside.
- Finely chop your coriander, parsley and spring onion.
- In a mixing bowl add all your ingredients and mix well.
- Spoon onto meze plate drizzle with olive oil and place one Kalamata olive in the middle.
Serve with flatbread, crudités or breadsticks as part of a main meal, light lunch or simply a snack on its own.
- Category: Dip
- Cuisine: Greek
- Serving Size: 372.8g
- Calories: 344
- Sugar: 6.2 g
- Sodium: 590 mg
- Fat: 31.7 g
- Saturated Fat: 7.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 12.9 g
- Fiber: 6.1 g
- Protein: 4.1 g