Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Aubergines in tomato sauce

summer side dishes, BBQ side dishes

Last time we had a BBQ on May Bank Holiday, it was raining, and we had our meal indoors. We enjoyed it a lot nevertheless and promised each other to have another BBQ on the next Bank Holiday.
As it typically happens, it was raining again. I wonder if there are Bank holidays in this country when it doesn't rain? I imagine there are, but the impression is that as soon as we plan a BBQ, it's ought to rain.
For me a good BBQ needs to come with a lot of vegetable side dishes. A simple potato salad with soured cream and chives or dill is one of my summer staples. It goes well with any meat or fish.
A slaw is another classic choice. Yesterday, our friends brought with them a big dish of homemade babaganoush and fennel slaw.
Jay, being Australian, is the king of BBQs. Alas, due to the incessant rain we had to change all our plans, so he prepared a roast pork at home.
To go with the sausages and roast pork, I decided to make a side dish of aubergines in tomato sauce. This is a recipe which my Mum used to make often in summer and early autumn. It is a Southern Russian recipe, unheard of many years ago in my home town in the North East, where my parents came to live as young specialists. My Mum still has her Southern accent, even after living for almost 50 years in the North. The locals have their own peculiar accent, which is known as "lazy jaw".
But I digress.
I also remember cooking this dish for my in-laws in Italy, and they said it is very similar to some Southern Italian dishes. Anyway, you can vary it, and use just fresh tomatoes and fresh, uncooked garlic (just don't go on a date afterwards, as your breath will be very garlicky). The authentic Russian recipe would be made with a sunflower oil rather than olive oil.

BBQ side dishes

Aubergines in tomato sauce
3 medium aubergines
80+ml olive oil (or vegetable oil)
4 medium sized tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 bottle of passata (540g)
1 pack of chopped tomatoes with chilli (390g)
a glug of good quality balsamic vinegar

This aubergine dish can be used as an accompaniment to the meat, or eaten on its own. It's tasty on a chunk of crusty bread, cold from a jar in the fridge. But it's lovely piping hot as well.

My Mum usually slices the aubergines, and puts them in a big dish under the heavy lid for a couple of hours with a sprinkle of salt.
I use a different variety of aubergines, which don't have a bitter note to them, so I don't bother with the prep.
Cook them in batches in the deep frying pan with plenty of oil until brown and soft. Season with sea salt.
Skin the tomatoes by first plunging them in a pan of boiling hot water for a minute, then in the cold water. I don't always skin tomatoes, but some people are funny about eating tomato skins, and since we had guests coming over, I thought I'b better do it. Chop them finely and set aside.
Chop the garlic and give it a quick fry, add the passata and chopped tomatoes with chilli (from a pack). Bring the sauce to boil and cook simmering for a couple of minutes with a glug of balsamic vinegar.
Layer the aubergines in a deep dish, then a bit of chopped tomatoes, then add the tomato sauce, then aubergines and tomatoes and sauce again. If you have fresh parsley chop it and add on top.

That's how you start the first layer before the sauce is added

In this recipe I used two products from Cirio. They often send me a selection of their products for testing in recipes.
Cirio La Passata is an authentic Italian product, made with ripe tomatoes which were crushed and bottled to season all dishes. It is a versatile ingredient for many dishes, from different cuisines.

Cirio Polpa Fine Finely Chopped Tomatoes with chilli is made with chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, red peppers, garlic, salt, sugar, chilli. It has just the right amount of heat, a good chilli flavour without overpowering the tomatoes.

Aubergines in tomato sauce will keep well in a closed container in the fridge for a couple of days.
You could also stir them into any pasta dish.

BBQ side dishes

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