Aubergines á la Boston

Yesterday I bought an aubergine. It’s so hard to resist them. resplendent in their purple, shiny, smooth and gleaming, and I always have it in mind what I might make – to be honest, it’s usually a toss-up between baba ganoush, a creamy dip, or mezzaluna parmigiana, but what actually happens is this. The aubergine comes home with us and sits in the vegetable basket, looking lovely, and somehow a day passes, and then maybe a couple, and before I know it, the poor fruit has brown patches and wrinkles, is a bit squishy, then mouldy and ends up in the compost. One of the problems is only I like it, so it’s no use making anything with it for the family – my daughter maintains I once tried to trick her into eating it by pretending I had made lasagne when I actually made moussaka. That is just not true – I would never trick my children into eating anything they genuinely didn’t like! I think (she doesn’t believe me) that I once made moussaka but didn’t exactly say what it was, everyone enjoyed it, but second time, daughter found a strip of aubergine skin and made a fuss! I can see this going down into one of the family stories, handed on to later generations – the day mum tried to trick me into eating aubergine!

Back to my aubergine at present sitting into the kitchen. Since we now have a lovely crop of home-grown tomatoes, I’m going to make half the not very big aubergine into a single person (me) serving of parmigiana and a small bowl of baba ganoush. I shall eat both and enjoy them both. Both these dishes are manageable for one person; it would be difficult to make a casserole – or aubergine and chickpea bites for which I just found a recipe, in small enough portions for me

In her 1956 cookery book, Constance Spry has eleven recipes for these ‘shining purple fruits’ as she describes them, and here is one of them:

Aubergines á la Boston

  • 4 aubergines, cut lengthways
  • salt
  • sprinkle of flour
  • 2 onions, chopped and softened in ½ oz butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 oz grated cheese
  • ¼ pint thin béchamel sauce or cream
  • seasoning
  1. run the point of a knife round the inside of the aubergine skin to a depth of 1 inch, and make several cuts across the fleshy part
  2. sprinkle aubergines with salt and allow to stand for half an hour
  3. dry them with a cloth, sprinkle with flour and fry 8-10 mins the cut side only
  4. when  cooked, take from pan and allow to cool
  5. when cool, scoop out the flesh, chop, add onions, cheese and seasoning
  6. refill the empty skins and bake for about 10 mins in a hot oven
  7. pour over béchamel sauce or cream and serve

I think I might sprinkle some extra cheese on top, and I think I would give the sauce and the cream a miss! I light try this, but not today!


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