How do you feel about aubergines? Look at this, bubbling away, looking great, smelling great.
This recipe, ekşili patlıcan, taken from Secrets of the Turkish Kitchen is for a meze, the concept we are all now familiar with: small appetizers set on the table at the same time before the main course, and an excuse to drink rakı, the delicious aniseed-flavoured local drink. I suggest you include it as a side dish along with whatever you’re having as a main. If you glance through the ingredients, you will see all the familiar veggies that characterise so many Mediterranean dishes, not only Turkish. Aubergines are in reality a summer vegetable but they are still available, just a little bit more expensive. Ekşili literally means sour, which does not sound very appealing, but what it actually means is cooked with lemon juice.
Serves 4 – 6
4 long aubergines
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed in salt
½ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Chopped parsley for garnish
|getting things ready: the tomatoes will be covered with boiling water|
|keeping only the red parts of the tomatoes and removing the white|
1. Remove the stems and peel the aubergines in alternate vertical stripes. Cut into bite-size chunks and place in a bowl of salted water for 30 minutes.
2. Drain the aubergines and squeeze dry in a towel. Place in a pan with the other ingredients. Cover and cook over a low heat until the aubergines are tender, most of the liquid has been absorbed and the sauce is rich.
3. Set aside to cool and serve garnished with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.
|ekşili patlıcan: serve at room temperature|
a) It pulls out the juices that carry bitter flavours and
b) Collapses the air pockets in the aubergines’ sponge-like flesh, thus preventing them from absorbing too much oil.
- Sprinkle slices or chunks of the aubergine with salt and let sit for 30 mins - 1 hour. Incidentally, I notice that all the River House Cafe recipes recommend 1 hour as well as putting a plate on top with a heavy weight to push down on the slices. Rinse the salt off with cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper. The drier they are, the less greasy the final result will be.
I also like peeling in stripes as in this recipe. The skin doesn’t become hard as it does when left whole.