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It’s versatile, in-season, delicious and the perfect accompaniment to everything from pasta to a “parmy”.
It’s eggplant, and as Sara Morley from TAFE NSW told ABC Riverina’s Sally Bryant on her TAFE Buds segment this week, it’s time you reimagined the humble aubergine.
“It has so many uses as a base ingredient and has an amazing ability to absorb oils and flavours into its flesh through cooking,” Ms Morley said.
“So don’t be afraid to go a bit left field with it in the kitchen.”
To prove her point, Ms Morley whipped up an Indian-style eggplant pickle and Italian-style eggplant relish (see recipes below), suggesting a range of dishes to serve them atop, from barramundi with broccolini to creating an eggplant pickle chicken “parmy”.
If you’d like to sharpen your home culinary skills or consider a career in cooking, there are a smorgasbord of courses available at TAFE NSW. For more information, visit https://www.tafensw.edu.au/courses/cookery-and-wine-courses
Eggplant Pickle (Indian Style)
Combine eggplant and salt in a colander and stand for 20 minutes.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add fenugreek and mustard seeds and cook until seeds begin to pop. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant (1 minute), then add diced eggplant, chili and remaining spices, stirring frequently until eggplant is tender (5 minutes).
Add vinegar and sugar and stir occasionally until thick.
Transfer to sterilized jars. Cool jars then refrigerate.
Eggplant Relish (Italian Style)
In a large frypan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over high heat. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring often, until the eggplant is tender and browned (about 3 minutes).
Transfer the eggplant to a bowl.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. Add the garlic, onion and celery and cook over medium heat, until the soft but not brown (3-4 minutes)
Stir in the tomato and cook for 30 seconds. Add the eggplant, the olives, basil, lemon juice and fennel seeds, vinegar and sugar.
Simmer gently until sugar is dissolved and relish is thick.
Season to taste.