With caramelised beefsteak tomato, black olives and lemon
This isn’t exactly romantic. And the only reason for going with the post today at all is because of my little camera managing to capture steam for a change. Okay, necessary editing has diffused it slightly. However, I happen to like the heart-shaped bonbon dishes that I very seldom use. They do seem appropriate. As I responded to Food and Forage Hebrides‘s comment last night the reason I like to celebrate today is the fact it’s the middle of Feb with Spring around the corner. It’s even a little milder here, at last. Anyway, at the store yesterday I’d no idea of what to make for lunch today. So, I quite simply grabbed another punnet of really nice looking chestnut mushrooms that are on special this week. As I haven’t had aubergine (eggplant) in a while I decided to couple that and go with a can of kidney beans. Unfortunately, regardless of how good this tastes this type of recipe never seems to look as good on the plate. Especially as this one is dryer than normal. On purpose as I want this as a side to go with marinated lamb skewers. Not only that I really wanted the combination of aubergine and mushrooms to shine through without adding a can of tomatoes. There is sauce here, even if it’s not visible. A large beefsteak tomato was allowed to caramelise, for ages, and then rubbed through a fine wire metal sieve. And there’s the juice of half a lemon. The reason I’ve kept this so plain, by only adding cayenne, is purely to do with wanting to marinate the lamb in yoghurt and allspice, the latter I’m not used to cooking with. So, I definitely don’t want to use particular spices that are going to wreak havoc with the allspice. In face, I’m not even sure if the lemon with work well with allspice. Hmm…I’ll find out this weekend, then.
To all of you celebrating, Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m just happy that we’re heading out of Winter.
Serves 2 – 3
- olive oil
- 1 x medium aubergine (eggplant), washed, halved, and cut into rough cubes, immerse the cubes in water with a good helping of salt, submerge them by using a weight on top, leave for an hour, drain and refresh with cold water several times and squeeze out excess water
- 250g (8.81 oz) x chestnut mushrooms, wiped, sliced in half then into several pieces
- 250g (8.81 oz) x onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 x dried bay leaf, split
- 1 x beefsteak tomato of about 280g (9.87 oz) in weight, washed and sliced in half
- 2 x medium garlic cloves, root end cut off, peeled and crushed or minced
- about ¹/3 x tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ x lemon, rolled under palms, sliced in half and juiced through a sieve to collect pips and pith
- 1 x dst tomato purée – optional
- about 4 x pitted black olives per person, sliced
- fresh parsley, fine chopped, to serve
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Put a large heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 3 (out of 6). When onions are ready and the pan is hot pour in enough oil to cover its base. Add the bay leaf and allow to infuse for 30 seconds. Add the onions and stir frequently. When they start to turn a pale golden reduce heat to No 2. When turning golden reduce heat to No 1. Push the onions to the sides, pour in a glug more oil and add the garlic. Allow several minutes for the garlic to cook. Before transferring this mixture to a suitable bowl sprinkle over the cayenne and allow to infuse without scorching.
- Add the tomato/es to a separate pan with a little oil and a lid. Put on heat No 2 for most of the cooking time. Remove the lid after about 15 minutes and continue to pan-fry until nicely caramelised. When ready to add them to the aubergine mixture pour them into a fine wire metal sieve and using a stainless steel soup ladle rub them through, collecting all of the purée from underneath with a wooden spoon. Discard the remaining pulp. Do add a little to the pan and collect any sediment, pouring that through the sieve as well.
- After draining and rinsing the aubergine pieces squeeze out as much excess water as possible. I did this with my hands rather than using a very clean t-towel (one that has been boiled). Using a large heavy-based saucepan or pan/skillet put on heat No 3. When pan is hot add a little oil and add the aubergine. Shake the pan vigorously, if necessary, to prevent sticking. Continue to cook until nicely golden all over, reducing heat when necessary to No 1. They can take up to an hour to get them absolutely soft to the palette. And there shouldn’t be any crunch to them at all.
- Pour in a glug more oil if necessary after pushing the aubergine to the sides and add the kidney beans. Up the heat again to No 2 and allow them to heat through.
- Put a heavy-based saucepan or pan/skillet on heat No 3. When mushrooms are prepared pour in a little oil and add the mushrooms. Stir through occasionally. When they start to leach a brown liquid stay with the pan and stir frequently to prevent scorching. Reduce heat if necessary. Continue to cook until nicely golden all over. Remove from heat and add the mushrooms to a suitable bowl.
- When all ingredients are ready to be combined, including the puréed tomato, prep the lemon and pour the juice through a fine sieve. Put the stew back on heat and stir through occasionally to prevent any scorching. If using tomato purée add that and make sure it’s well stirred through.
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