Nigel Slater’s recipes for aubergine, lemon and parsley couscous, and for pear, walnuts and gorgonzola | Food

My large forged-iron casserole has been earning its retain this wintertime. The enamelled interior stained from a long time of curries, stews and prolonged, sluggish cooking, there is barely a 7 days it does not sit on the hob or in the oven, its contents puttering carefully in the direction of tenderness. This week, my dear previous mate (it need to be at the very least 25 years outdated) nurtured a spice-scented aubergine dish seasoned with bay, chilli flakes and spices, its sauce a deep brick pink from a recipe that incorporated red wine and tomatoes.

I must have waited to elevate the lid right up until the pot was on the table, when absolutely everyone could share the scent of the steam and its smooth, earthy spice notes. But, as a cook, there is often a natural temptation to peep at your handiwork.

The lid lifted and a ladle sunk deep into the sauce, we scooped every thing up with mounds of couscous freckled with lemon zest and parsley. The upcoming working day, I snaffled the leftovers, eaten amazing, like a caponata with flatbread, and followed it with heat pears, gorgonzola and toasted walnuts.

Sluggish-cooked aubergine, lemon and parsley couscous

Serves 4 as a tasty main training course.

For the aubergines:
aubergines 800g
olive oil 100ml
onions 2, medium
garlic 4 cloves
bay leaves 4
thyme sprigs 6
chilli flakes 1 tsp
cumin seeds 1 tsp
ground coriander 2 tsp
salt 1 tsp
tomatoes 350g
tomato purée 2 tbsp
purple wine 250ml
vegetable stock 500ml

For the couscous:
fine couscous 150g
lemon 1
coriander leaves 4 tbsp

Eliminate and discard the stems from the aubergines. Slash them in 50 percent lengthways and then into quarters. Cut each quarter into 3cm-extended pieces.

Heat a griddle (you will need to place the extractor fan on or open the window). Set 50 percent the aubergines on the griddle, let them prepare dinner for a pair of minutes until eventually darkish traces appear on the underside, then switch and repeat. Carry them off with kitchen area tongs and established apart. Continue with the remaining aubergines.

Peel and approximately chop the onion. Warm the oil in a significant, deep pan that will also go in the oven. Incorporate the onions. Go away them to cook for 10 minutes or so until eventually smooth and translucent. Peel and thinly slice the garlic, then increase to the onion and go on to cook for a minute or two. Preheat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5.

Stir in the bay leaves, thyme, chilli, cumin, coriander and salt. Proceed cooking for a number of minutes till every thing is glossy.

Approximately chop the tomatoes and include them to the pan, then stir in the tomato purée. Proceed cooking for 5 minutes, then pour in the wine and stock, convert the heat up and carry to the boil. Clear away from the warmth, protect with a lid and transfer to the oven. Go away to bake for about 45 minutes right until the aubergine is soft and the sauce rich and thick.

To make the couscous: place the kettle on. Put the couscous into a heatproof bowl, pour in plenty of of the boiling drinking water to deal with the grains by 2cm, include and set apart for 10 minutes till the couscous is swollen and has soaked up all the h2o. Finely chop the parsley, grate the lemon zest and stir into the couscous with a fork. Serve with the aubergines.

Pear, walnuts and gorgonzola

‘Cook the walnuts only briefly, just enough to warm them’: pear, walnuts and gorgonzola.
‘Cook the walnuts only briefly, just enough to warm them’: pear, walnuts and gorgonzola. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

When introducing the walnuts to the pan, cook dinner them only briefly, just adequate to warm them. Overcooking a walnut will make it bitter. If you materialize to have walnut oil in the property, use fifty percent olive and half walnut oil in the dressing. Serves 2

sourdough or other open up-textured
white bread
olive oil 4 tbsp
walnut halves 25g
Comice or other significant pears 2
butter 20g
gorgonzola 200g
lettuce or chicory leaves 6

For the dressing:
Dijon mustard 1 tsp
honey 1 tsp
cider vinegar 2 tbsp
olive oil 4 tbsp

Make the dressing: set the mustard in a small mixing bowl, add the honey and a generous pinch of salt. Pour in the vinegar then, employing a small whisk or a fork, conquer in the olive oil. Grind in a minor salt and black pepper and then set aside.

Slice the pears in fifty percent, then lower every single 50 {ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} into 3 thick slices from stem to flower stop, eradicating the cores as you go.

Get rid of the crusts from the bread, then tear the bread into tiny tough-edged pieces. Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan over a moderate heat, location the bread into the warm oil and cook dinner it for a pair of minutes on each individual facet right until it is crisp and golden. As you flip the bread, include the walnuts to the pan and allow them warm by. Remove the bread and nuts from the pan and drain them on some kitchen area paper.

Position the sliced pears in the pan, with the butter and a minor more oil if the bread has soaked it all up, then cook dinner them for 5 or 6 minutes on each and every side until eventually the pears are tender and have colored properly.

Transfer the cooked pears to the dressing, incorporate the crisped bread and walnuts and toss gently to coat almost everything with the dressing.

Set the leaves on 2 plates, insert the pears, nuts and bread. Spoon the gorgonzola future to the pears, trickle above any remaining dressing and serve.

Comply with Nigel on Instagram @NigelSlater

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