food gift in a jar

August 3, 2009

It was high time to try out one of those aubergine recipes that linger around and appear everywhere, like a sign, begging you to make it. This recipe for Aubergines & Feta with Chilli I found online a long time ago, in a Good Food cookbook early on this year and this past weekend in a vegetarian magazine my mum bought. Like I said, high time.


It’s perfect to give as a present, but beware of the time you need to invest. It took me a morning to put this together, and I had already salted the aubergines and set to drain overnight, the evening before (the recipe asks, Marieke obeys). I did half the quantities because my passion for aubergines is not shared by everyone in the household. It worked out fine, except that I did not half the amount of feta, and would reckon you’d be short on feta if you used the actual eight aubergines asked for.

•    8 large aubergines
•    sea salt flakes (enough to salt 8 aubergines)
•    200ml red wine vinegar
•    500ml light olive oil
•    3 tablespoon dried oregano
•    1 tablespoon chilli flakes
•    2 tablespoon black peppercorns
•    200g feta cheese

1. the night before putting the dish together, slice your aubergines lengthwise, as thin as possible. Salt on both sides and layer in a colander over a bowl to sit overnight. Cover the colander with clingfilm. (minimum time to set aside is 8 hours).

2. the next day discard the juice that has leaked from the aubergines overnight and rinse off the excess fluid and salt. In a pan bowl the red wine vinegar combined with an equal amount of cold water. Add the aubergines slices in batches (mine fit about four to five at a time, this is a time consuming job) and let them simmer for about three minutes until tender.


3. Remove them from the pan and drain them on kitchen paper, patting them dry thoroughly.

4. When the last of your aubergine slices have been patted dry, heat a griddle pan over medium heat (hot but not smoking). Take a brush and cover both sides of the slices with olive oil. Then cook for about two minutes on each side (or until well charred). Again, this will take some time as you’ll need to do it in several batches).


5. Heat the rest of your olive oil along with the oregano, chilli and black peppercorns in a saucepan over a low heat. In the meantime, cut the feta into small cubes.

6. Pack the aubergines into the jars (I tore them into half or smaller, thinking ahead towards messy serving, and this worked well), add a layer of feta cubes every now and then and top it off with the herby oil. Seal in jars and leave it to cool.  They keep in the fridge for  week.


7. Before serving, slice some pita bread into triangles and lay out on a baking tray. Drizzle over some olive oil and put into the oven to get crispy. Served with a layer of hummus and then the delicious oily aubergines.


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