I think I’ll have to rename this blog ‘Olives and aubergines’ as we have so many this year. It’s because we’ve put too many plants into the garden, but I’m not complaining as I love aubergines and it’s nice to have plenty to give away to friends who’ve given us vegetables. Today we picked another 10, but we’ve given most of them away. I was glad of a chance to make one of my favourite aubergine dishes that I discovered in Murcia in southern Spain. We went to a restaurant and ordered a selection of tapas, one of which was called morcilla de verano (summer morcilla). I was expecting it to be a meat dish and, when all the dishes had arrived, was surprised not to see any morcilla (blood sausage), but then realised that the aubergine dish was made with pine nuts, like morcilla, and it must be made when the weather is too hot to risk hanging blood sausage to dry. It was a surprise, but a delicious surprise. This is my version:
I used 4 small aubergines, a large sweet onion, 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped, a bunch of fresh mint, chopped, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of paprika, 2 tablespoons of raisins, 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, salt and plenty of olive oil. Chop the aubergines and onion roughly into small chunks and put in a large pan with a lot of olive oil – aubergines soak up oil, so you just have to see how much it needs to keep the vegetables from getting dry in the pan.
Once the aubergine and onion pieces are cooking and softening in the oil, add the other ingredients and continue to simmer in the oil for about three-quarters of an hour. They should almost be melting into each other.
Allow to cool, and serve – as for so many delicious dishes – with crusty rustic bread, and with other tapas or salad dishes.
I often use oregano instead of mint in this dish, but today I had plenty of mint but had forgotten to pick oregano – both are good.
And, just for a change from aubergines…..
This evening I made carpaccio de tomates – slicing a large coeur de boeuf tomato very thinly, sprinkling chopped garlic, basil leaves, salt and pepper over the slices and then adding olive oil.