BRINJALS originated in China and India and have been cultivated there for thousands of years. It was then introduced into southern and eastern europe by the Spanish Moors. It became a very popular fruit/vegetable. Then in the 1500s, the plant was intoduced to America, but it was slow to be used and added to the american diet. Americans were suspicious of the plant because it belonged to the Nightshade family.
Brinjals, tomatoes and potatoes all belong to this family and so it was thought that the vegetable was poisonous.
It is a poplar plant in Italy and is used in stews and soups, and cut in thin slices and fried.
It is usually cooked in oil to be served as a side dish, or stuffed with a variety of fillings and baked.
Brinjals keep fresh for longer than most other vegetables and fruit, especially if they are stored in the salad basket of a refrigerator. The following recipe makes an unusual and appetising first course.
PREPARATION TIME: 10 MINUTES
COOKING TIME: 30 MINUTES
CHILLING TIME: 2 HOURS
INGREDIENTS FOR FOUR TO SIX
2 medium-sized brinjals, about 16cm long
300ml white wine
45ml (3 tablespoons) brown sugar
45ml (3 tablespoons) olive oil
6 coriander seeds
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 small bay leaf
30ml (2 tablespoons) tomato paste
1 bouquet garni
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped basil for garnish
- Peel the brinjals and dice them into 3cm cubes. Put all the remaining ingredients (except the basil) into a saucepan, seasoning with the salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir well, then bring this sauce to the boil, add the diced brinjals and bring back to the boil.
- Simmer the brinjals for 15 minutes, or until they are tender but still intact. Lift them into a dish with a slotted spoon, and boil the sauce rapidly until it has reduced by a quarter.
- Strain the sauce over the brinjals, allow to cool, then chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Sprinkle it with basil before serving.
SERVING SUGGESTION Spoon the brinjals and the sauce into deep plates and serve as a first course. Serve with crusty bread that can be used to mop up the dressing.
VARIATION Instead of brinjals use button mushrooms. Simmer them, whole, in the sauce, for not more than 10 minutes, when they will be tender.
If you would like to know just how healthy aubergine is, then check out my article: Aubergine: Vegetable, fruit or berry?
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