Unfortunately, aubergines (also known as ‘eggplant’) do not feature much in English cuisine (actually nothing healthy features much in English cuisine, but that’s another story lol).
Part of this is because UK supermarkets tend to over-charge for aubergines, so people cannot be bothered paying loads of money for something they haven’t tried before. I’ve seen prices range between 80p to £1.50 for one!!! However, shopping from a green grocer (which is the right thing to do as they are much cheaper than supermarkets) will drop the price to about £1 for four aubergines. That’s what I call proper pricing!
I think it is important to introduce the plant to anyone who has not even tasted it yet.
The aubergine is part of the nightshade (Solanacene) family, which also includes tomatoes, potatoes, and chilli peppers. Like the tomato, the aubergine is also considered to be a fruit. Tobacco is also a member of the nightshade family. Like tobacco, the aubergine and other nightshade plants contain nicotine, though to a much lesser extent than tobacco. Do not think, therefore, that feeding aubergines to children will land you in prison lol.
The aubergine is very low in calories and fats and rich in fibre content. 100gr provides just 24 calories but contributes about 9% of RDA of fibre. It contains good amounts of many essential B-complex groups of vitamins which are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish and are also required for fat, protein and carbohydrates metabolism. The peel or skin of aubergine has significant amounts of phenolic flavonoid phyto-chemicals called anthocyanins. Scientific studies have shown that these anti-oxidants have potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases.
Anyway, back to this recipe which is an easy, delicious and healthy dip that goes well as a starter (with bread, of course), a meze or just a spread on your bread.
You will need:
4 large aubergines
1 handful of chopped parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
1 medium onion
1. Wash the aubergines under a tap and dry them with a towel.
2. Place them in the oven, at medium heat. Ideally your oven should heat from both sides (above and below). Do not cut the aubergines; just place them on the grill as they are.
3. Leave them to cook in medium heat for a good 1-1.5 hours. You will know they are ready when the skin has almost burned outside.
4. Once ready, leave them out of the oven to cool down a bit.
5. Cut part of the skin off and then scoop the insides into a bowl (they should come off easily).
6. Using a fork mash them up (DO NOT USE A BLENDER)
7. Grate the onion and squeeze the grated mass with your hand over the aubergine mixture to release the onion juices. Throw away the remaining onion (we only need the juice). Do not worry if a bit of onion has dropped into the mixture.
8. Add the lemon juice, the chopped parsley and olive oil and salt to taste, and stir well.
9. Try it to see if it needs more salt, olive oil or lemon juice. Remember that it is ready once you are satisfied you like the taste.
10. Refrigerate and serve when needed.
- This version of the recipe is called 'Politiki'. I prefer it because it only uses the aubergine as the main ingredient, so you get to taste its full flavour without too many add-ons.
- If you want to, you can add to the mix the grated onion and 1-2 thinly chopped gloves of garlic.