An unapologetic ode to the 90s this week. Just the name “aubergine caviar” sounds a bit naff now, but this, alongside the “tomato fondue” (also in the discount bin!) are well worth revisiting. They are perfect bedfellows for summer meat and fish such as grilled lamb or salmon, or grain salads. They are light, fresh, irrefutably delicious and most revealingly, actually contain very few ingredients. The best cooking is underpinned by clarity of taste, perhaps above all else; you want aubergine to taste of aubergine, tomato to taste of tomato. When creating a dish, you are inherently combining a number of elements to make that dish so they need to have a clarity of flavour. Consequently, when eaten alongside the other constituent parts, they will become a delicious amalgam rather than a confused muddle. Too many flavours is never a good thing. These sauces are fine in isolation but even better when served together.
1 Aubergine. cut in half and scored
1 sprig Rosemary
1 tbsp White Balsamic
- Season the aubergine halves generously with salt on the scored side and wrap with aluminium foil adding the rosemary stick inside.
- Cook at 170C for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Scoop the flesh out, chop and hang in a sieve to remove any liquid.
- Season with more salt, if needed, and white balsamic.
1 Shallot, finely chopped
¼ Fennel, finely chopped
3 tbsp Olive oil
½ tsp Salt
500g Ripe tomato, grated on coarse side of a box grater (just the flesh, the skin will remain in your hand)
1 sprig Thyme
1 tsp Sugar
1 tbsp White balsamic
- Over a medium heat, in a pan with a lid sweat the shallot and fennel with the olive oil and salt for 10 mins or until softened and with no colour.
- Add the tomato and the thyme. Simmer for about 15 mins until compote like, then season with sugar and balsamic.