Is the mushy aubergine the neediest of vegetables? | Lou Hannan, BBC Radio Solent
It’s time to ban the aubergine. There, I’ve said it.A bold statement, I know, but one I made on the radio show this week and it’s fair to say it provoked a mixed reaction.
As I vegetarian – apart from those days when the smell of a bacon sandwich lures me back to the dark side – I’m a fan of most veg but the aubergine just doesn’t cut it for me.
I didn’t realise I even had an opinion on this until I caught up with one of my much-watched programmes – Jamie Oliver’s Meat Free Meals.
Although he’s not one of my favourite telly chefs, I’ve been finding myself captivated each week by what he’ll come up with next – from pimping the humble potato into a thing of beauty to whipping up the most delicious-looking salad using only three ingredients.
I’m not sure I’ve ever written the words ‘delicious’ and ‘salad’ in the same sentence before.
Now, I’m under no illusion that any of this is as easy as Jamie makes it look, but he does have a way of inspiring even little old unadventurous me.
However, last week I watched him prepare a dish using an aubergine and it took me back to all the recipes I’ve tried with it.
Okay, there’s moussaka but apart from that, what do you do with the aubergine?
Once you’ve decided on something to cook, you’ve got the preparation.
Boy, it’s a needy vegetable.
How many others want sprinkling with salt to dry them out and go brown within seconds of encountering the air?
Who wants such a high maintenance vegetable? Once you have gone through the faff of getting it ready and cooking it, what does it deliver?
Slimy, nondescript mush, that’s what.
Obviously I’m prepared to be educated if you know differently, but many listeners called into the radio programme to join me on my crusade to ban the aubergine.
Clearly lots of people disagreed passionately, though.
From deep-fried aubergine chips to stuffing them with mince and cheese, I had no end of recipe ideas coming through to me.
But, I’m sticking to my guns. Give me the low maintenance parsnip or sprout any day.