Aubergine / Eggplant
Aubergines are also known as eggplants, depending on where you come from. They're a much misunderstood vegetable, often being served over-cooked and mushy, which doesn't do them any favours. Knowing how to prepare them gives you a chance to enjoy aubergines.
- In Season?
- Best in August and September
- Choose aubergines that are firm and shiny-skinned. You should feel them "give" slightly, if you give them a gentle squeeze.
Buy them too early in the season and they'll be bitter...
- Store aubergine in the salad compartment of the fridge. That way they'll keep for up to a week.
- No - not even cooked. Really yucky.
- You can either use aubergine as it is, by washing well, removing the stalk and then cutting or slicing.
You can "salt and drain" them.
More Aubergine / Eggplant InformationAubergines are perhaps most famous in Italian cooking.
It can be difficult to grow them successfully in the UK, but many box schemes and organic farms manage by using polytunnels.
The Egg Plant is a member of the nightshade family, along with potatoes, peppers and tomatoes.
Aubergine can be purple or white, or any shade in between. This year we have had the tradtional fat banana shape, as well as balls and even think stick-like aubergines. All were delicious.
Aubergines (egg plants) don’t just come in purple. You can also get them in white and lilac. Which may look fancy, but they taste pretty much the same.
They’re a really common ingredient in Mediterranean food, and although they are grown in the UK, they don’t do as well here, given our somewhat cooler climes. Very often this means that UK aubergines are grown in green houses and polytunnels, but if you’re in search of a delicious ripe flavour, I’m afraid there’s no substitute for intense sunshine.
This vegetable has turned out to be something of a bone of contention on our recipe feedback pages. In our experience, a lot of aubergine dinner disasters are down to using the aubergine before it’s ripe. So whenever the eggplant season is in full swing, try out a recipe or two and discover how delicious they really can be.
What To Do With Aubergine / Eggplant
You can either use aubergine as it is, by washing well, removing the stalk and then cutting or slicing.
You can "salt and drain" them.
To do this, wash, remove the stalk and then cut or slice the aubergine.
Put it in a colander and sprinkle well with salt. Put a weight (a bowl, for example) on top of the aubergine and leave it in the sink for half an hour. Rinse thoroughly and dry well.
This draws the water out of the aubergine and makes them less bitter. It also means they absorb less oil if you're frying them.
The jury's out on whether you need to do this. If I'm baking or grilling aubergine, I don't bother. But if I want it to go crispy, I might. It depends how much time I have!
Little Known Aubergine / Eggplant Facts
- You can tell how an aubergine will taste from the skin! If the skin is firm and shiny, it should be fine. If it’s gone dull, that means it’ll taste bitter and might ruin your recipe. Watch out!
- In China, the aubergine was known historically as the Malayan purple melon.
- Until relatively recently, the aubergine, which biologically is actually a fruit, had been attributed with the power to cause madness, leprosy, and bad breath. This may account for it being used mostly ornamentally until the 20th century!
|Graham's Rhubarb Pudding|
|Looking around for different ways to cook rhubarb as we have a lot of rhubarb in the garden,|
- Aubergine & Courgette Bake
This is a great way of using up spare courgettes and aubergines, towards the end of the veg box's week. And it's so easy!
- Aubergine & Courgette Stack
AUBERGINE (EGGPLANT), COURGETTE, TOMATO & MOZARELLA STACKS
These aubergine and courgette stacks are great served with rice. They're also a delicious, healthy and easy-to-make addition to the BBQ for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
- Aubergine & Potato Bake
AUBERGINE & POTATO BAKE, TOPPED WITH CHEESE
Recipe shared by Sybil - a Vegbox Recipes reader.
Tasty and simple dish of aubergine and potatoes, baked with cheese. Serve with salad and crusty bread for a light vegetarian meal, or serve as an accompaniment to meat and fish. This can be refridgerated and reheated the next day.
- Aubergine Recipe: Melanzane Parmigiano
Aubergines baked in tomatoes and cheese. This vegetable dish makes a delicious italian-style supper! And it's easy to make!
Serve with salad and garlic bread, or serve as an accompaniment to meat and fish.
- Autumn Pizza
Don't be put off making your own pizza by thinking it's complicated - it's actually really simple. This one uses autumn veg box ingredients to make a delicious topping.
- Grilled Aubergine with Tomatoes and Goats Cheese
Easy to make and versatile. This grilled aubergine dish can be served as an indulgent snack, an impressive starter or as a main meal when accompanied. We recommend diced, fried potatoes and salad.
- Imam Bayildi - Stuffed Aubergine (Eggplant)
TRADITIONAL TURKISH DISH: IMAM BAYILDI - STUFFED AUBERGINE (EGGPLANT)
Tasty aubergine dish with delicately intertwined flavours.
The name of the dish literally means “The imam fainted”. It is said that an imam (priest) swooned with pleasure on tasting the dish.
Serve Imam Bayildi with flatbreads for a delicious vegetarian meal, or alongside meat.
Aubergines (eggplants) come into season in the UK in May, and are at their best in June, July, August, September and until mid October.
- Mozarella and Aubergine Baguette
BAGUETTES FILLED WITH AUBERGINE (EGGPLANT) AND MOZARELLA
Aubergines don't have to be reserved for stews, casseroles and bakes! As they are quick to cook and tasty, aubergines also work well as a snack food.
Aubergine and mozarella baguettes make a delicious light lunchtime meal. Add chips and a spicy salsa for a bigger meal.
- Roasted Vegetables with Herbs
This juicy and flavoursome recipe has been provided by Cirio.
- Vegetable Tempura
Although it's deep-fried, as long as the oil is hot enough and you drain the tempura after cooking, it's not that bad...! Quick, delicious and a nice change from sticking your veg in a curry!
- Vegetarian Moussaka
TRADITIONAL GREEK DISH TOPPED WITH AUBERGINE AND POTATOES
This classic Greek dish of subtly spiced mince and tomatoes, topped with potatoes, aubergine and cheese, is easily transformed into a vegetarian dish. Simply replace the mince with a vegetarian alternative such as Quorn, or lentils.
Vegetarians will rave about it, and meat-eaters looking for a healthy alternative will love it!
Our easy to follow recipe is for an 8” x 10” dish that will provide 6 portions. This dish will taste just as good the next day, so it’s ideal for preparing in advance and refridgerating, or for saving leftovers.
Serve with salad or fresh vegetables.
Got one? Send us your recipe!
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