Aubergines have the reputation of being tricky.
Overcook them and they can turn to tasteless much, undercook them and they can be rubbery and tough. Are you meant to salt them before cooking? How much oil are you meant to use?
Done well, aubergine can be the star of any menu. This versatile vegetable soaks up flavour and has a beautifully silky texture that works in curries, stews, dips and even charred on the BBQ.
so, if you want to perfect your aubergine cooking skills, read on for expert tips from Victor Radvive, owner and chef at Piazza Italiana.
Tips for cooking perfect aubergines
Salt and score
‘Salting and scoring aubergines at least 30 minutes in advance is necessary to extract the water and prevent them going soggy on the BBQ,’ says Victor.
‘This process also helps reduce the natural bitterness of the product.’
‘Oven-baked and then minced aubergine is always a “secret ingredient” for a base for vegan mixes, such as vegan meatballs or vegan bolognese,’ says Victor.
‘To make them even more smoky and delicious, we love to BBQ them.’
‘Always grill the aubergine on the BBQ cut-side down and make sure to give it a colour by putting it on the hottest part of your BBQ first,’ Victor adds.
‘If using gas, turn it down and then turn the aubergine over to cook for another 10 minutes. Or if using charcoal, move to a cooler section.’
Roasted Sicilian round aubergine with lemon-cucumber ricotta recipe
Round aubergine is a seasonal product from May to September, grown primarily in Sicily.
It is similar to a traditional long aubergine but is far meatier, with less seeds. Its shape is perfect for baking and grilling and easy for peeling.
Aubergine (for two starter size portions)
- 1pcs (approx 400-500gr) round aubergine (Sicilian)
- 10gr Maldon salt
- 30ml olive oil extra virgin
- 1pcs Spanish white onion (peeled)
- 1pinch yellow seed powder mustard
- 1pinch oregano (fresh preferred, but dry also works)
- 1pinch ground paprika
- 5gr table salt
- 70ml olive oil
- 150gr ricotta (drained)
- 5gr lemon Zest
- 15ml lemon Juice
- 50gr cucumber (grated, drained)
- 1/2 garlic clove (minced)
- 1 pinch salt
- Sprig of mint (chopped)
Cut the aubergine in half. Score the halves. Properly season and rub them with salt. Place the aubergine cut-side down on a baking paper. Let it rest for at least one hour.
After one hour:
- Wipe the exuded water and salt off the aubergines.
- Take a tray with a new baking paper on it.
- Drizzle the sheet with olive oil and place the aubergine cut-side down in the oven, 200 degrees celsius.
- Bake the aubergine for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, turn the aubergines and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Check that the aubergine has been cooked evenly within all parts and has a soft and smooth texture.
Julienne the onion and place it on a medium-hot pan. Sweat the onion in the olive oil for around 30 minutes until soft but yet crunchy. Once ready, add spices and stir properly.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Place the aubergine cut-side up, cover with onions, top up with ricotta, and finish with fresh chopped mint.
Source: Read Full Article