What seasonal produce should you be eating this July?

At Create, we believe in cooking with seasonal and fresh ingredients. You’ll get extra flavour, extra crunch and extra juiciness in all your dishes.  Stick to nature’s bounty and you’ll get the added benefit of nutrients tailor-made for the time of year.

 

For us, July means Aubergine

We love aubergines for their versatility; they make the perfect addition to a curry, ratatouille or tagine but they are also just as delicious on their own! Aubergines have a subtle and unique blend of flavours and textures – smooth, creamy, smokey and rich.  Not only that, but aubergines are a great source of fibre and folic acid. The most distinctive and commonly known variety is the near black and pear shaped but aubergines actually come in a wide range of shapes, colours and sizes.

 

A little known fact for you; Aubergines are in fact classed as a berry and not a vegetable.

 

 

Create’s Top Tips for Cooking Aubergines

 

BUYING
We always recommend you head to your local farmers market  but we know that this isn’t always practical with a busy working life.Look for aubergines that feel firm with smooth, unblemished skin and fresh looking stalks.

 

STORING
These can be stored in the fridge or a cool larder for four to six days

 

PREPARATION
It the past it was always normal to salt aubergines before cooking as this reduced the bitterness as well as the amount of oil absorbed during cooking. However, most readily available varieties have had the bitter taste cultivated out.

Be sure to cook he aubergine quickly after chopping to avoid discoloration.

 

Here is a collection on our favourite recipes, using this hero ingredient.

 

MISO ROASTED AUBERGINE

Served over fluffy white rice this is a delicious meat-free meal which allows the glory of the aubergine to shine. .

Ingredients

1 aubergine
1 tbsp dark miso paste (hatcho would be the preferred option)
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
5 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp groundnut oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds – toasted
1 spring onion- finely chopped
1 tbs runny honey

 

Method

In a bowl mix together the miso, honey and sesame oil. Slowly add in the water until the miso and honey have blended together (you may not need to use all 5 tbsp).

Slice the aubergine in half and score the flesh, cutting deeply into the flesh without cutting through the skin on the other side.

Pour the marinade into a shallow dish and then place the aubergine face down in the mixture. leave the marinade for 30 minutes.

After marinading, place the aubergine, cut side up on a tray lined with baking paper. Cook in a preheated over for 20 minutes at 200°C.

After 20 minutes glaze with the remaining marinate and drizzle with some extra groundnut oil.

Return tot he over an d cook for a further 20 minures

Serve over fluffy white rice and garnish with finely sliced spring onion and toasted sesame seeds

 

 

CAPONATA

This Sicilian classic is full of flavours and shows the Middle Easter influence in the islands cuisine with the addition of aubergine and pine nuts. Caponata is best served cold or at room temperature with plenty of warm, crusty bread or, our personal favourite, with grilled swordfish.

 

Ingredients

2 large aubergines – cut into 3cm chuncks
1 large brown onion – finely diced
2 cloves garlic – finely sliced
2 tbsp salted capers – rinsed, soaked and drained
50g raisins
1 handful green olives – stones removed
1/2 tbsp of sugar
80ml of red wine vinegar
5 large ripe tomatoes – roughly chopped
80g tomato puree
2 tbsp pine nuts – lightly toasted, optional
sea salt and pepper
olive oil

 

Method

Pour a few generous slugs of olive oil into a large cast iron/heavy based saucepan, place over a medium heat and add the aubergines. Cook for a good 15-20 mins until they are soft and golden. Make sure you season with plenty of salt.

Remove the aubergine from the pan and  place on a plate lined with kitchen paper. There should be oil left in the pan

Place the onion in a saucepan and cover with half a glass of water. Cook until the water evaporates and then add the tomato puree, capers, olives, pine nuts, raisins and cook the sauce for 5 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a further 15 until tender

Add the fried aubergine cubes and mix gently. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar, add it to the caponata and cook for a further two minutes on a medium-high flame,

Remove from the heat, allow to cool and its ready to serve!

 

Bon Appetite

Let us know how it goes by tweeting @Createfood, we’d love to see what you make!