Chilli and rose­mary aubergine parcels with smoky mash

Period Living - - Recipes -

Aubergines are in­cred­i­bly ver­sa­tile. They lend them­selves to so many di­verse flavours and cook­ing styles whether they are fried, smoked, steamed, roasted, grilled, mashed or pick­led.

SERVES 4

For the aubergine and moz­zarella parcels:

2 large aubergines

6 tb­sps of olive oil

Sea salt and pep­per 2 gar­lic cloves, crushed with 1 tsp of sea salt 3 sprigs of rose­mary 2 tsps of fen­nel seeds, lightly toasted

2 red chill­ies, de­seeded and finely chopped

500g of buf­falo moz­zarella For the Smoky aubergine mash:

2 medium aubergines

900g of pota­toes (such as de­sirée or maris piper)

100g of but­ter, diced 100ml of hot dou­ble cream or milk

Sea salt and black pep­per

20 ca­per berries (op­tional)

1 To make the parcels, slice the aubergine length­ways into ½–1cm slices (you need 8 slices in all), lightly brush both sides with a lit­tle olive oil and sea­son with salt and pep­per. Heat a grid­dle pan (or bar­be­cue, weather per­mit­ting) over a medium heat and cook the aubergine in batches un­til golden and ten­der (about 2 min­utes each side). Trans­fer to shal­low dish. 2 Strip the leaves from the rose­mary and finely chop, then add to the crushed gar­lic in a mor­tar and pes­tle, along with the fen­nel seeds and chill­ies and crush. Add the re­main­ing olive oil and mix well. Pour the mari­nade over the aubergines and mix through. Leave to mar­i­nate for 30 min­utes or overnight in the fridge.

3 Re­move the aubergines from the mari­nade and lay them flat on a work sur­face. (Re­serve the mari­nade for serv­ing.) Tear the moz­zarella into 8 pieces and place one on the end of each aubergine. Roll up to en­close – and if you have some rose­mary left, se­cure the parcels with a sprig, for a pro­fes­sional touch! Place on a bak­ing tray and warm un­der a hot grill or oven un­til the cheese be­gins to melt.

4 To make the mash, prick the aubergines all over with a fork and char over a gas flame, grid­dle or bar­be­cue, turn­ing fre­quently, un­til black­ened. If you have an elec­tric cooker, roast the aubergine in a hot oven, al­though you won’t achieve the same smoky flavour. Place the aubergines in a colan­der and leave to cool. Cut in half length­ways and, us­ing a spoon, scoop out and finely chop the flesh and place in a colan­der to drain away any bit­ter juices.

5 If you have a steamer, peel the pota­toes and cut into 4cm pieces. Steam un­til cooked, for about 30 min­utes. Shake any ex­cess wa­ter from the pota­toes and place in a pan or flat-bot­tomed bowl. (If you don’t own a steamer, place the pota­toes in a large pan, cover with wa­ter, add a pinch of salt, bring to the boil and sim­mer un­til ten­der, about 25 min­utes. Drain well and re­turn the pota­toes to the pan, place over a low heat and leave for a minute or so to re­move any ex­cess wa­ter. Turn off the heat.)

6 Add the but­ter and, us­ing a potato masher, mash un­til lump-free. Pour in the hot cream or milk and beat with a wooden spoon un­til soft and fluffy. Stir through the aubergine pulp, sea­son with sea salt and pep­per and serve the aubergine parcels on top, to­gether with some rocket leaves, driz­zled with the re­served mari­nade. Ca­per berries are lovely with this dish too (as shown). ➤

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