Stuffed Aubergine - quick and tasty
Aubergine - a charisma of it's own
Aubergine, eggplant, call it what you may, it’s a strange fruit. By itself, aubergine is nothing – bland – tasteless - so why would anyone choose to use it. The answer is simple, tart it up with a few other ingredients and wow - in a few short moments it magically changes. It takes on a charisma all of it’s own.
It’s only within the past twenty years or so that aubergine has made any sort of impact in the UK, yet it’s been fashionable around Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Turkey, Spain and Greece, for centuries.
Wherever I’ve been on holiday, aubergine has been found on the menu, and I always wondered why. In fact many years ago, I recall a taverna on the Greek Island of Zakynthos, boasting 30 ways of serving it, and the tour rep claimed countless more were available. It seems there are so many ways to prepare aubergine, the recipes are virtually inexhaustible.
Eggplant, aubergine - what's in a name - and who cares anyway?
Cook aubergine with spices and it becomes delightful, mix it with other vegetables and it takes on an extra wow factor. Spices that are successful include allspice, basil, bay leaves, garlic, chilli powder, oregano, sage, thyme, marjoram, and parsley, and it goes oh-so-well with tomatoes and onions.
There are several varieties available. Italians benefit from a strain of aubergine bearing a long fruit that has unusual mauve and cream streaks. Asian varieties include the Thai aubergine with green stripes, and the long and slender pale-purple Japanese and Chinese varieties that are so ideal for stir-frying. The aubergine can also be ovoid and light-coloured, which perhaps what led people to call it the ‘eggplant’.
In Egypt, aubergines are stuffed with meat, rice, tomatoes and spices. In Turkey, the stuffing includes onions, garlic, tomatoes and parsley. In Italy, they like roasted aubergines baked with mozzarella, parmesan and tomato sauce.
Whatever, aubergines cheerfully take on whatever taste is put their way which makes them ideal for cooking and roasting, but be warned, they absorb a lot of oil as they fry, roast or grill.
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My favourite stuffed aubergine
This recipe was created by us. I find it delightful, light and tasty... and that's not just because we invented it, I absolutely love it. As a starter, it is perfect. The two cheeses blend well with the other ingredients and will complement any dish.
- 1 large aubergine
- 1 leek
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoon breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon flaked almonds
- Salt, pepper
- 1 ounce (28 gm) butter
- 2 ounces (56 gm) chopped bacon
- 2 ounce (56 gm) cheddar cheese
- 2 ounce (56 gm) parmesan
Getting down to it
- Cut large aubergine in half, scoop flesh out. (Leave ½ inch (1 cm) of flesh on skin.)
- Blanch the skins for three minutes in boiling water
- Drain and pat dry
- Fry chopped bacon until almost done
- Finely chop 1 small leek and crush the clove garlic. Add a little butter and fry along with bacon bacon bits, and scooped out aubergine, until soft and bacon is finished.
- Add 2 Tbsp breadcrumbs to the pan
- 1Tbsp flaked almonds – lightly crush in blender and add to the pan
- Add seasoning
- Mix well
Divide the mixture between aubergine skins. Top with grated parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese, then bake in a a preheated BBQ or oven at 180C for 30 minutes.
Serve with a little garnish of salad leaves, and enjoy.