Sweet & sour aubergines

by Celia Brooks

A warm and filling veggie main


2 large or 3 medium aubergines
60-90ml olive oil
100ml dry vermouth or white wine
3 tbsp wine vinegar
1½ tbsp honey
2 large handfuls young spinach leaves
200g white crumbly cheese, such as Blackwoods Graceburn or feta cheese, broken into chunks
4 tsp pomegranate molasses
1 handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
75g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped


Slice the stem off the aubergines. Stand them on the severed end and slice downwards—about 1cm in thickness—shaving off and discarding the first and last bit of skin. Brush each slice on both sides with olive oil.

Cook the aubergines in batches. Heat a chargrill pan until very hot. Lay the aubergines in the pan and cook each side until translucent and striped with black. You can encourage them by pressing them into the pan with a spatula. Allow to cool slightly, then cut the cooked aubergines into long strips about 2cm wide.

Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over moderate heat. (If you have used up all the oil, add 2 tbsp to the pan). When hot, add the aubergines and spread them out evenly in the pan. Add the vermouth or wine all at once—stand back as it may splutter at first. Season well with salt and pepper and cook, stirring gently, until the wine has almost completely evaporated.

Add the vinegar and honey to the pan and stir. Cook for a couple more mins, while the juices thicken and caramelise, then remove the pan from the heat.

Make a bed of young spinach leaves on each plate and pile the aubergines on top. Scatter the cheese over the aubergines. Drizzle each salad with pomegranate molasses, sprinkle with chopped mint and pistachios and serve.

Recipe: Celia Brooks