I’ve been so lucky with my crops of aubergines this year. Determined to avoid crop fatigue – you know, grew so many that you can’t stand the sight of them by the end of the season – I’ve been using them in as many different ways as I can think of.
There are as many ways to preserve as there are to serve, and I’ve tried a few over the years. But one of my favourites is just roasted, and bottled with olive oil and maybe the odd herb. Roasting brings out the unctiousness of aubergine and has the added bonus of removing the skins, leaving only the fluffy, soft interiors. And it couldn’t be simpler.
Wash and place on barbecue:
Look at those gorgeous colours!
Roast for about 20 minutes, turning ocasionally:
Myriad of purples and browns
Of course you could do this under the grill or in the oven, but in a hot Australian autumn, I’d much rather use the barbie. Plus you get an aroma from an ope flame that’s difficult to achieve in an oven. If you have a charcoal grill, top marks and happy days!
Once they are blackened all over and soft inside – obviously larger, fatter varieties will need cooking for longer – remove and cover. I usually put a plate over the bowl that I’ve placed them in. Allow to cool slightly; the steam caught in the sealed space will help the skins slide off. Once cool enough to handle, peel or scrape out the innards, discarding the skin. Use how you wish – baba ganoush, pickling, salads, the world is your proverbial.
I bottled mine, by sterilising a jar (yes, one mid sized jar was enough for all those (admittedly skinny) aubergines) in the oven for 10 minutes, and layering the roasted, seasoned aubergine with a mix of 3 parts olive oil to 1 part red wine vinegar. Leave a layer of oil over the top and seal firmly. Store in the fridge for added safety!
As to the baba ganoush. All I can say this time around is – don’t substitute korean sesame paste for tahini. It just doesn’t work. Next time I’ll stick to the recipe….