Despite loving what I do Monday always hits with an intense pressure that can be uncomfortable. I always feel the need to cram in as much as I can and often feel deflated and a little lacklustre come 4pm. Cooking something complicated and time consuming is NOT an option.
We stick to our Meatless Monday fairly religiously and although it isn’t the only plant based meal we have in the week we make a point of it and I try and involve the boys in preparing it. This means choosing simple dishes that are fairly easy to make without too many complicated knife skills. My eldest has decided to be vegetarian – and decided this on his own as the rest of us are not completely veggie – so I want him to feel supported. This is more of an adult dish, although my two will eat whatever they are given thankfully- the little one however doesn’t skip for joy if he sees this on the agenda – just a caution 🙂
I love the simplicity of the dish – and have served it up with a simple green salad and also at a dinner party as an accompaniment and also providing a veggie options for those who prefer it. The smokiness of the aubergine, tangy sumac and feta and sweet caramelised onion is truly sublime and my mouth waters even thinking about it. It would also make a simple holiday lunch with some crusty sourdough bread and you could blend the leftovers to make an aubergine ate for later. It’s based on an Ottolenghi recipe so can’t lay claim to it entirely have just adapted it slightly adding in a few ingredients and using less of some.
2 large aubergines, halved lengthways with most of the stem cut off
4 medium white or red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp sumac
1½ green chillies, deseeded and chopped (optional)
50g feta, broken into large chunks (whatever type of feta you choose it should be crumbly but hard – not creamy and smooth like the so called “danish feta”)
1 medium lemon
1 tbsp chopped preserved lemon
1 garlic clove, peeled and crush
2 tbsp fresh mint chopped to serve
Chopped preserved lemona nd fresh lemon flesh
- Preheat the oven to 200C or 180 fan.
- Score a criss-cross over the white flesh of the aubergines, brush liberally with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place white flesh side up on a baking tray and roast for 45 minutes or until golden-brown and cooked through.
- While the aubergine is roasting heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over moderate heat, add the onions and half a teaspoon of salt, and cook for about 10 minutes or till the onions are caramelised and crispy and dark – but not burnt.
- Add in the cumin, sumac and one chilli, cook for two minutes, then add the feta cook for a minute, then turn off the heat.
- Cut the skin and white bitter pith off the lemon. Chop the flesh, discard the seeds, and put in a bowl with any juices, the remaining chilli and the garlic. Spoon the lemony sauce over the cooked aubergine the oment its cooked.
- Warm up the onions mixture and spoon it on top of the cooked aubergine sprinkling the fresh mint over the top.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with a big green salad or some brown rice or even some crusty sourdough bread.
Delicious and packed with interesting texture and flavour!