Monday, January 08, 2007

A question about aubergines

Often the best dishes come from things you have hanging around in the fridge and need using up. I made stuffed aubergines last week from a few ingredients that were rapidly approaching their sell by date. OK so I can't take all the credit, I had seen a similar recipe somewhere but you can pretty much stuff anything you want into an aubergine as long as it's edible.

What you need for 2 people:

2 x aubergines
3 x good quality sausages
10 x cherry tomatoes finely chopped
2 x Garlic cloves finely chopped
1 x chilli finely chopped
a handful of breadcrumbs
a good handful of parmesan
5 torn basil leaves
Olive Oil
Black pepper

Fry the onion, garlic and chilli. Once the onion is softened, take the sausagemeat out of the skin and add to the pan and fry. When the sausagemeat is cooked, add the tomatoes. Scoop out the flesh of the aubergine and fry in a separate pan. When everything is cooked, mix together adding a handful of breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt, pepper and basil. Put some olive oil over the aubergine shells, fill with the mixture then cook in the oven at 180c for about half an hour.

The question is this: Do you really need to salt the aubergines first? I always used to do it as I was told it reduces bitterness, but have recently discovered (after a bout of laziness when I couldn't be bothered to do it) that it doesn't really make any difference. I've since read that apparently these days, the bitterness is bred out of the aubergine so salting isn't necessary. It is however when frying. As the aubergine contains almost 90% water, when fried, the water escapes and is replaced by oil. So that would explain why I get through almost a whole bottle of olive oil when I make parmigiana!


The Phantom said...

Uncanny! Mrs P and myself dined on stuffed aubergine and red peppers this very evening.

I agree with you about the aubergine salting, I find it just improves the texture and do it anyway.

Love the idea of using sausages.

mat said...

They look very tasty, and so easy to make. You are a great cook a.c.t. I will make them myself one of this days (although aubergines are not in season).

ems said...

Look fantastic. You're going to have to give me some tips on photographing food - I've given up trying it all looks the same (i.e. inedible).

I do only salt aubergines now when I am going to fry them.

And as for parmigiana...delicious.

a.c.t. said...

Phantom, let me know what you think if you try it.

mat, they are very easy and thanks for the compliment. I used to go on about using vegetables that are only in season but I'm finding it increasingly difficult to resist when they're staring at me in the supermarket.

ems, don't give up. Mine used to be awful especially as they're always taken at night. It was always too dark without flash and too bright with flash. Now I just use the 'indoor' setting on the camera. If you haven't got that, try moving the plate around until you find the brightest area or under a lamp or something. Sounds like a lot of hassle I know but I love food pics and I think you should keep posting them.

ginkers said...

Looks like a tasty dish. I thought that salting was to help draw the water out of the aubergine as it is such a soggy beast. It certainly sweats out a fair bit of moisture! Keep the recipes coming...

a.c.t. said...

Ginkers, it is for that as well. When you fry them the water comes out and gets replaced by loads of oil so if you salt them first it should hopefully absorb less oil.

Susan in Italy said...

Wow! It's like parmigiana di melanzane in a neat little package! Sounds delicious.

Clarajean said...

Stuffed eggplant! Yum! I am going to try this!

Martha Elaine Belden said...

i don't know what aubergines are, but they look great :)

i love that you're so creative in the kitchen... i hope i have a kitchen big enough to do that someday... and someone else to cook for... it's sort of boring cooking for myself :)

Spangly Princess said...

Martha, aubergines are eggplants.

I've been told you can grill your sliced aubergines for your parmigiana too, if you want to reduce the oil intake. I always salt mine for this reason rather than for bitterness.

handily though if your aubergines get out of date they make a useful sponge for absorbing any spillages.... [n.b. I take no responsibility for the consquences of following this suggestion. ahem.]