Try baking whole aubergine in the skin and scooping out the flesh to make a purée or dip such as imambiyaldi or baba ganoush or even an aubergine caviar, as Michael Wignall serves with roast turbot. You could also stuff the aubergine before baking; try Food Urchin’s Aubergine stuffed with Quorn ragu and topped with Parmesan, ricotta and lemon zest, or Alfred Prasad’s delicious Smoked aubergine.
Aubergine can be diced up and fried before being added to a dish. It is a main component in ratatouille, which Pascal Aussignac serves with a grilled rack of lamb. Simply dice with or without skin depending on your preference and fry in a hot pan with a good amount of oil. The aubergine will continue to soak oil up as it cooks.
For a crisp aubergine try deep-frying – Nuno Mendes coats his aubergine in rice flour and serves it with salmon and crispy skin. Scott Hallsworth deep-fries his aubergine before coating with a sticky miso-based dressing and grilling to create the traditional Japanese dish of Nasi Dengaku.
Due to its natural smokiness, aubergine is particularly well suited to grilling. Sliced thinly and coated with a little oil and salt, aubergine takes just a few minutes to cook and makes a great vegetarian option at a barbecue. Alfred Prasad grills aubergine and stuffs it with quinoa, paneer and vegetables in his Grilled aubergine rolls.
When cooked whole on the barbecue aubergine takes on the charred flavour from the skin being burnt. The flesh can then be scooped out to make a smoked aubergine purée or baba ganoush. If you don't have a barbecue the same result can be gained by cooking the aubergine over an open flame on the hob until the skin has blackened.
Aubergine is widely used in European and Middle Eastern cuisine, with the most popular dishes being the Greek moussaka closely followed by the Parmigiana. Try Marcello Tully’s easy Aubergine Parmigiana for a simple midweek meal, or Francesco Mazzei’s Ciambotta di verdure, which combines aubergines with other Italian vegetables and eggs all baked in a loaf of crusty bread – great for a picnic.