Oh Aubergine, Oh Aubergine.
Smooth, fleshy, creamy, smoky, you can just picture Nigella drawling the words as she pours over a large, glossy aubergine. When cooked well it can transport you away in its smoky cloud, and we think it’s about time this humble veggie got the attention it deserves.
Due to their versatility, aubergines have been used for years in traditional recipes across the globe, from smoky Levantine baba ganoush to French ratatouille. They are perfect vessels for flavour, and pair well with rich, full-bodied ingredients such as tomatoes, peppers and chickpeas.
Not commonly known, aubergines actually grow well in the UK, and contrary to connotations of winter and stodge, are at their best between July and September. Make sure to look out for British grown aubergines during these summer months, and you want to go for ones with unblemished and lustrous skin, firm to the touch.
While the long, dark purple kind are most commonly known in the UK, aubergines actually come in a myriad of shapes and colours, from stripy purple to white and yellow. Asian grocers are a good place to find the more unusual varieties, such as the Thai Green Pea kind, perfect used in Thai curries.
Not just a pretty face, the vibrant colour of an aubergine’s skin is caused by the presence of anthocyanins, a compound said to contain antioxidant properties. Aubergines are also high in fibre, which helps to maintain a healthy digestive system. Meaning you’ve the perfect excuse to get creative and try out a variety of recipes using this noble vegetable.