I invented this recipe for fried aubergines and tomato the other day and it doesn’t really have a name – it’s really just fried aubergines and tomatoes with a bit of salt – a bit like a simpler version of ratatouille but without the other ingredients. The aubergines are starting to ripen at the moment and it won’t be long before we have plenty of them so I’m trying out different ways of cooking them in preparation.
One of the problems with frying aubergines is that they absorb a lot of the oil. So, in this recipe I dry fry them for ten minutes in a frying pan or so before adding any oil, giving the aubergine pieces enough time to take on a lovely golden brown colour.
Fried Aubergines and Tomato
This recipe is quick to prepare and is best served warm.
- 4 medium-sized aubergines, halved lengthways and then cut into 1cm slices
- 2 large tomatoes, coarsely grated
- extra virgin olive oil
- Heat a frying pan on a high heat.
- When hot, add the aubergine slices, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Turn them over and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil and season with salt.
- Keep turning the aubergines every so often until they have got some good colour.
- Add the tomatoes and fry on a high heat for another couple of minutes
- Turn the heat down low and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
- Leave the lid on and leave in the pan until you need to serve them.
Fried polenta cakes
Fried polenta cakes
The first time I cooked this recipe for fried polenta cakes, the mixture was thicker so I was able to shape it into burgers shapes before frying. It was fine and better with the braised chard and fried eggs, but I thought the polenta could be tastier. This time, I made a looser mixture and added grated cheese. It was necessary to take greater care when frying the patties but it was worth it and they were a lot tastier.
Polenta is extensively used in Northern Italy. Traditionally it was necessary to boil the polenta for long periods of time as it was made from coarse cornmeal. However, instant versions made from yellow or white cornmeal are now available and these can be prepared in minutes. Polenta can be served as a soft, thick mush topped with a sauce. Alternatively the pre-cooked polenta mixture can be cut into slices or wedges or shaped and baked, fried or grilled. Polenta can also be used instead of breadcrumbs to coat fish before frying.
This dish works well served with braised chard, fried eggs and garlic mayonnaise.
If you are not using cheese, then you will need to increase the amount of polenta to 100g per person.
70g polenta per person
2 handfuls grated hard cheese
salt and pepper
Put the polenta in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour over a glug of olive oil and enough boiling water to form a soft dough. Mix in the grated cheese.
Heat some oil in a frying pan. Depending on the consistency of the polenta mixture, you can either shape into burgers or drop a large spoonful of the mixture into the frying pan. Fry the patties for 4 or 5 minutes on each side (or until they are golden brown).
400g chickpeas, washed and drained
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat some sunflower oil in a frying pan until hot. Add the chickpeas and fry until crunchy.
Meanwhile mix the spices and salt in a bowl.
When the chickpeas are cooked, add to the bowl and stir well.
Fried Chicken Blood
It was only last Sunday that I learnt how to fry chicken blood to serve as a tapa. Before then, I had always given it to the neighbour’s dog – but not any more. Sorry dog.
When you kill the chicken and cut the neck, drain the blood onto a plate with a sprinkling of salt. Once the blood has congealed, sprinkle a bit more salt on top and cut into squares.
Fried Chicken Blood
Get 5 or so large cloves of garlic and cut into thick slices, skin and all. Fry gently in a frying pan until golden.
- Fried Chicken Blood
Gently add the blood squared and fry until they have puffed up. It is important not to fry them for too long or they will taste like rubber.
The blood has completely different taste to what you might expect and tastes more like egg yolk.
Pour the contents of the pan into a shallow bowl and serve with small chunks of bread.