Saturday, October 22, 2011

Aubergines in the pan

I find frying cubes of aubergines unsatisfactory. As everyone who has cooked them knows, aubergines absorb a great deal of oil; then they stick to the pan. It is not an efficient way of softening them. My usual method - in this recipe, for example - is to toss them in oil and to bake them.

However, it occured to me the other day that I could cook them in a pan if the pan offered a moist environment, such as that created by softened onions. The pan in the picture contains two red onions, softened in olive oil with some garlic. I threw in the aubergines, tossed them in the oily onions, and covered the pan, cooking them over a low flame. I stirred them from time to time. In 15 to 20 minutes they were soft, and with a more melting texture than you get when you bake them.


elwyn said...

Nicholas, your method of cooking the aubergine on the onion bed is a great way to avoid the oil-blotting idea of frying them and I shall certainly follow it.

I bake diced aubergines in the oven by wrapping them in baking paper-lined foil and they soften up well, however if they are left in for too long they end up looking like a dried mushroom. Incidentally, I recently learnt dried aubergines are added to dried mushrooms to bulk out the quantity of the cheaper packets of dried Italian mushrooms on the market. The taste, textre and look of the two items are remarkably similar and the unsuspecting would be oblivious.

Nicholas Clee said...

Yes, I agree about the baked aubergines - they can dry up, and the skins become tough. I still think that frying them on their own is tricky, though.

james said...

Try dry frying thinly sliced on a griddle pan or on the BBQ. Layer on a plate and sprinkle with some olive oil and feta cheese. Surprisingly good.

This works well with sliced courgette , with the addition of some mint leaves along with feta and olive oil.

Nicholas Clee said...

In my experience, James, they take a good deal of tenderising if cooked dry in this way, and even after dressing lack the melting texture that's so appealing in aubergines. Courgettes - but they have to be sliced thinly - have worked better.

But it's no good being dogmatic about such matters. I've had delicious meals cooked by people using techniques that have never worked for me.