Friday, 16 October 2009
Fried aubergines with tahina yogurt
I'm still trying to make it up to my body for the nutritional desert that was the political party conference season. There was excitement, some interesting discussions (and some very bizarre ones), and some fun nights in hotel bars. But a vitamin feast it was not.
A few days into the first conference I never wanted to see another piece of lukewarm chicken satay again in my life. The rule for conference food seems to be anything as along as it's beige: sandwiches with unidentifiable protein fillings, odd deep fried pastry things and anaemic bits of quiche.
So, a vegetable-heavy meal was very much needed. In retropect aubergine fried in fairly copious amounts of oil probably doesn't count as particularly healthy, but it is very good. As it cooks the aubergine flesh becomes soft and melting in contrast to the slightly charred edges.
If you want to create a crunchy carapace to provide even more contrast the silky interior then dip the slices in beaten egg then flour before frying. Oddly enough fried aubergine is also good cold and makes a great sandwich.
Plenty of olive oil
100ml plain yogurt
Small bunch of parsley
Cut the aubergines into 1cm wide slices. This is a situation in which you would normally be recommended to sprinkle the slices with salt and left for half an hour or so so draw out some of the excess juices and to reduce bitterness. However, I think most aubergines available in the UK today have had excessive bitterness breed out of them, and I don't generally find them to be too soggy. Also, I just can't be bothered.
Heat a shallow layer of oil in a pan, then add the aubergines. Fry over a medium heat for about five minutes on each side. Try not to move the slices around too much to allow a slight crust to form.
Meanwhile, put the tahina in a bowl and slowly stir in a tablespoon of water. This can cause it to thicken and seize up, but keep stirring and it will loosen up. Gradually mix in the yogurt, then add salt, pepper and the parsley, finely chopped.
Let the aubergine cool for a minute or two then slather with the tahina yogurt. I ate this with a salad of Little Gem and parsley leaves. An easy way of making a small amount of dressing is to mix the oil and vinegar straight onto the plate you're going to eat it off, then toss the salad in it.
One aubergine should serve for two, although, just because I was so vegetable deprived, it was just enough for me.