I love aubergines and I only really started eating them in the last few years because many recipes I found put me off by saying they must be salted or that they soak up a lot of oil. The first time I tried cooking it myself I simply stir fried it and it was bland and chewy. I realised that it suited slow cooking and that, like with the oil, it suited big flavours it could soak up.
I now use it as a main ingredient all the time in curries, cut into long strips in lasagna, pasta sauces and now even simply on its own as a side dish. I don’t really know how I came up with this idea other than the fact that I had a lonely aubergine in my fridge and not much else. I wanted to make some cous cous for my lunch and I thought I could use the aubergine to jazz up the cous cous.
I also had a jar of Harissa paste and this idea just came to me. I was pleasantly surprised with how it worked out as the aubergine flesh became full of flavour, quite spicy and incredibly soft. I used a spoon to scoop out the flesh and then I stirred it into cous cous.
Other ways to enjoy an aubergine like this could be topped with raita yoghurt and served with a salad, scooped out and spread into a flat bread as a sandwich, stirred into rice or cous cous, scooped out and served as a kind of spicy mashed aubergine side dish. Or just on its own.
Vegan, gluten-free, low-fat, spicy!
1 Aubergine1-2 tblspn Harissa paste
Slice the aubergine in half lengthways, using a sharp knife score the flesh but don’t cut through the skin of the aubergine. Take a spoonful of harissa and using the back of a spoon or a knife spread the paste over the aubergine making sure it gets in all of the score lines. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top. Do this on both halves of the aubergine just on the cut side.
Place the aubergine halves on a baking tray, cut side up and bake in an oven at 180c for around 35 minutes. Leave to cool slightly then use it how you like :)
The Harissa is very spicy so use as much or as little as you like. You could use other pastes like Curry paste, Thai paste or Pesto.