Aubergine 'burger' with smoked paprika & Greek salad
- 3 tbsp plus 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- zested or grated zest of 1/2 small lemon and 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp juice
- 1 large aubergine, green tip cut off
- 1/4 medium red onion, peeled and finely sliced
- 1/4 cucumber, halved, deseeded and cut into 5mm slices
- 100g feta, cut into 2cm cubes
- 12 black olives, pitted
- 4 heaped tbsp sliced basil
- 1 beefsteak tomato
- 4 heaped tsp tomato chutney
- salt, sugar and smoked paprika
- Preheat your oven to 220C/Gas 7, position upper middle shelf.
- Start with the dressing. Get a small bowl. Add the 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, 2 tbsp of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika. Mix together well. Season to taste with salt and sugar.
- Next, prepare the aubergine. Cut it in half lengthways. Score the flesh side in a criss-cross pattern. Peel or slice a 10cm long, 3cm wide strip of skin off the bottom of each half. Cut each half across into two. Get a small baking tray. Line it with greaseproof or non-stick baking paper. Put the aubergine quarters on the baking tray. Brush the top and bottom of the aubergine vigorously with half the dressing. Make sure the aubergine is criss-cross side up. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the flesh is soft.
- While the aubergine roasts, prepare the Greek salad. Get a medium-sized shallow bowl. Add the onion, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar and the 1 tsp of lemon juice. Toss to mix. Let sit for 5 minutes. Next, add the cucumber, half the feta, the olives, basil and remaining dressing. Mix together very gently so you don't break up the feta too much. Season to taste.
- Cut the beefsteak tomato in half. Slice it very thinly. Spread the tomato slices over your plates. Season the slices with salt and smoked paprika.
- Once the aubergine quarters are ready, spread 2 heaped tsp of chutney on two of them. Top with the remaining feta. Put a second quarter aubergine on top of each. Press down gently. Roast for 2 minutes.
- Put the aubergine 'burgers' on top of the tomatoes. Brush each 'burger' with 1/2 tsp of olive oil. Spoon the Greek salad to one side. Serve with the polenta chips.
Cook extra: Make extra portion(s) of the recipe. Cut the roast aubergine into cubes. Mix with the other ingredients to make a salad or stuffing for a wrap.
Since I was introduced to 1-minute polenta I've turned to it for a side dish every time I want mash but don't have time. Polenta is just ground corn.
The basic technique for 2 portions: put 450ml water, milk or stock into a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and add 80g 1-minute polenta in a slow, steady stream. Whisk nonstop until there are no lumps. Return to the heat and bring to the boil. Stir for 1 minute. Be careful as it will boil volcanically. Take the pan off the heat. Stir in 25g grated Cheddar and 25g butter or olive oil. The polenta will be quite soupy, like very soft porridge, but it will thicken as it cools. If it gets firmer than you'd like before you're ready to serve, add 2-3 tbsp of boiling water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Quick polenta chips: Use 110g polenta and 400ml stock. Cook as above, then spread the polenta to a 3cm thickness in an oiled tray or container. Leave it in the fridge for an hour to set, or for up to 2 days. Cut the hard polenta into chips. Heat a non-stick frying pan. When it's very hot, shallow-fry the polenta chips with vegetable oil over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until golden.
Alex Mackay is a cook, a teacher, a writer, a Provencal food expert, a cooking with kids enthusiast and a regular on Cookery Television. Alex's Cookery School in Provence was put in the world top ten by the Sunday Times and Conde Nest Traveler. He lives in Oxfordshire with his wife Jess and sons Jake and James. Everybody Everyday, his latest book from which these recipes are taken, is published by Bloomsbury at £20.
On Saturday 8 June 2013 Alex will be appearing at Wealden Times Midsummer Fair in the Chefs' Theatre where he will be demonstrating recipes from his new book.