No other brinjal recipe comes close to this one for optimal enjoyment. It takes time, but it’s worth every minute, making a wonderful first course for a late summer lunch or as part of a buffet of Med fare. I have simplified the recipe from Delia Smith (Delia’s How to Cook, Book 2) a little – she, in turn, sourced it from Elizabeth David via a London restaurant called Chez Bruce.
About 700g fresh purple aubergines, cubed, unskinned
2 – 3 T fresh coriander leaves, chopped
About 700g firm, ripe, bright red tomatoes
45ml good Cape olive oil
About 300g onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 large mild red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp powdered cumin
1and half tsp powdered allspice
Salt and ground black pepper
1T top quality Cape olive oil
Pita breads or bread of your choice
4T Greek yoghurt
Additional chopped coriander leaves
Chopped fresh mint leaves (optional)
The day before it’s required, salt aubergine cubes, place in colander and leave to drain for an hour, stirring mixture after 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 230 degC. Skin tomatoes by leaving them in boiling water for 1 minute, then slipping skins off. Halve and place cut side up on oiled baking tray. Brush with olive oil.
Rinse aubergine cubes under cold running water, dry and transfer to a bowl. Add 1T olive oil and toss to coat. Spread out on a baking tray. When oven is ready, place aubergine tray high and tomatoes underneath and bake for about 25 minutes (less for fan ovens) until aubergines are tinged gold and tomatoes tender. Remove. Chop tomatoes when cooled.
Heat 2T olive oil in large pan and fry onion until softened and golden, about 10 minutes. Add chilli and garlic and fry for 1 further minute. Add tomatoes, aubergine, cumin and allspice , stir well, bring to a simmer and season to taste. Transfer contents of pan to serving dish, cover, and leave overnight in the fridge.
Next day bring mixture to room temperature, drizzle with fine olive oil, top with a dollop of Greek yoghurt (serve more on the side) garnish with coriander and mint leaves and serve with pitas or bread of your choice. Serves 4 or more.