This recipe came about because I was seduced by some gorgeous striped and white aubergines at the market yesterday. I had seen the striped ones before but not the pure white ones and thought I simply must see if they taste any different to the glossy black/purple ones I usually buy – they don’t but they look fabulously exotic!
I had planned to bake a salmon with some equally exotic Moroccan spices and thought they might make a great accompaniment. They did, although there is definitely a cross-cultural clash cuisine-wise with the flavours and their origins. No matter, the flaked fish worked fantastically well with the very tender, moist and almost gooey aubergine flesh. A few salad leaves was the only other nod I made to completing this meal, which was a triumph on all levels.
Both the salmon and the aubergines can be made well ahead ready to cook; both need little last minute attention and can easily feed one or two or a crowd (simply scale down or multiply up the quantities); and both also make wonderful leftovers when cold for next day eating.
Aubergines ready for the oven topped with their Sichuan style paste
This recipe does of course make a good vegetarian type meal but equally good with grilled poultry, meat, seafood and other vegetable skewers especially if they have some added protein like halloumi cheese with them.
SICHUAN ROASTED AUBERGINES
4 cloves garlic, crushed or 3 tsp Lazy Garlic
3 tsp chopped root ginger or Lazy Ginger
1-2 tsp Lazy Chilli (to taste) or 1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp passata or tomato paste
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sweet chill sauce
2 tsp honey or ginger syrup (I used some from a jar of preserved ginger)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 aubergines (I used speciality striped and white ones)
a little sesame oil to drizzle (optional)
6 spring onions/scallions, chopped or shredded to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 200 C/400F/gas 6. Line a baking sheet or tin with non-stick silicone or bake-o-glide for easy release and cleaning up.
- Mix the garlic in a bowl with the ginger, chilli, passata or tomato paste, soy sauce, oil, sweet chilli sauce, honey or syrup and salt and pepper to taste, mixing well.
- Halve the aubergines lengthways then deeply score in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife, taking care not to cut through the skin. Place on the baking sheet or in the tin and spoon over the prepared paste. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for a further 30 minutes until very tender and browned. Drizzle with a little sesame oil if liked and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
- Scatter over the spring onions/scallions and serve.
- Equally good as a salad side dish or lunch box meal cold.
WLS PORTION: ½-1
V suitable for Vegetarians
CALORIES PER AUBERGINE HALF: 75
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