Aubergine or eggplant is not quite everyone’s favourite but I think this little purple gem looks so pretty no one should resit it:). And this aubergine dip recipe it’s a delicious way to get this introduced into your diet.
As the colour suggests they have beneficial amounts of antioxidants that protect the heart and blood vessels and help balance blood sugar levels. Some studies have shown that aubergines can help remove harmful toxins from the body as well as helping with bowel regularity and water balance.
Aubergine come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the most well known purple aubergines to stripy ones like in the picture I have put here (these are of Italian origin), to long pale purple ones that Japanese mainly use and ideal for stir fry. In the UK aubergines are mainly in season from April to October so here I got the last of the season. So though to celebrate this beautiful jewel I wanted to show you a recipe that I used to eat a lot at home.
Some of you know it by the name of Babaganoush which is mainly done with lemon, garlic and olive oil (and of course aubergine flesh:) ) but this is the Romanian version of the aubergine salad. This is sooo easy to do and so yummy. You can use it as dip with carrots or sliced peppers or as a spread on rye toast as I usually like to have it:).
So what you will need:
- 3 medium sized aubergines
- 2-3 table spoons of lemon juice
- salt (I used pink himalayan)
- a few good glugs of olive oil
- 1 medium sized red onion
- pinch of cayenne pepper for decoration
The traditional aubergine dip recipe uses the flame on the hob to cook the aubergines and roll them onto each side until the peel is blacked and you can remove it. This creates a wonderful flavour, it is quick but is also messy as all the peel and juices from aubergine will flow out onto the hob. So I tend to use the oven now.
Pre-heat the oven on 200 degrees Celsius. Put the aubergines whole into the oven for around 40-45 min. You will know these are ready as they look like they collapsed on themselves. Remove from the oven, cut lengthways into 2 and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Put the flesh into a food processor with a S blade (you can also use a handmixer if you wish), the lemon juice, salt and olive oil. Blitz until a smooth paste is produced. Taste and see if it needs more seasoning. With such water content, aubergines can take quite a bit of salt.
Cut the red onion in small cubes and then mix with the aubergine dip. This will give you a sharp crunch as you eat the smooth dip. If you feel the taste of onion is too much (Romanian palette is used to this:) ) then leave the onion into lemon juice for 3 min and this will take out the initial sharp taste. Decorate with olive oil, pinch of cayenne pepper and a few small cubes of chopped onion. I used to love this dip as a kid and I still do…it does remind me of home and hopefully it will give you some inspiration. With the Rugby final upon us this weekend this dip is perfect for a pre-dinner snack.