In season: Aubergine

Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Photo by Gregor Richardson.
For many of us, the aubergine or eggplant (as some may know it) seems a little bit confusing and maybe even a little intimidating. Chef Alison Lambert says once you start to cook with it and enjoy the many dishes you can make from the one vegetable, you will be converted.

Char-grilled aubergine salad

Serves 4

2 large aubergines
Olive oil for cooking aubergine
2 tomatoes, seeds removed, sliced or diced
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
1 red onion, finely diced
2 tsp capers, roughly chopped
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil, flat leaf parsley, marjoram or oregano leaves, roughly torn
20g shaved Parmesan cheese (feta works as well)

Slice the aubergine lengthwise into 1cm thick slices.

Heat a griddle pan or heavy-based frypan until hot.

I try not to cook my aubergine in any oil if using a griddle pan, but if using a solid-base pan, just a light drizzle over the base of pan.

Cook the aubergine in a single layer until brown on each side.

It is important that you feel the flesh of the aubergine; it should be soft, not tough.

While the aubergines are cooking, put the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, capers and seasoning in a flat serving dish.

As soon as the aubergines are cooked, place into the dressing.

You want them to suck up the dressing so that the aubergines are moist and flavoursome throughout.

Continue until all the aubergine slices are done.

Scatter over the tomatoes, onions, herbs and Parmesan.

You may need a little more extra virgin olive oil to lightly moisten the surface.

Ensure all the ingredients are well combined, and arrange so it looks fabulous!

- Alison Lambert will be demonstrating this recipe at the Otago Farmers Market at the Dunedin Railway Station on Saturday

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