Nigel Slater’s delicious and easy aubergine, honey, sheep’s cheese

Greenfeast: A week of recipes from Nigel Slater that make vegetables the star of the plate

Nigel Slater’s aubergine, honey, sheep’s cheese. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/HarperCollins

Nigel Slater’s aubergine, honey, sheep’s cheese. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/HarperCollins

 

It’s Tuesday. The week has picked up pace, and those aubergines you bought at the weekend are winking at you from the vegetable drawer in the fridge: pick me, pick me.

Here their special affinity with goat’s and sheep’s cheese is exploited, in a recipe that pairs shallow-fried aubergine fingers with creamy cheese and a drizzle of sweet honey. The oil-loving aubergines take on a crisp, burnished exterior and a meltingly tender interior, while the cheese softens in their warm embrace.

And if you didn’t buy aubergines at the weekend, Nigel Slater says his recipe works just as well with courgettes, and in that case you won’t need to go through the 30-minute salting process. – Marie-Claire Digby

A note on the recipes
Though all are plant based, the six recipes from Greenfeast that are appearing on irishtimes.com this week – one each day, from Monday to Saturday – are not strictly vegetarian. They can, however, be rendered suitable for vegetarian or vegan diets with a bit of informed tweaking.

NIGEL SLATER’S AUBERGINE, HONEY, SHEEP’S CHEESE

High summer. Honey bees and thyme
Serves two

Nigel Slater’s aubergine, honey, sheep’s cheese. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/HarperCollins
Nigel Slater’s aubergine, honey, sheep’s cheese. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/HarperCollins

Ingredients
6 small, slim aubergines (about 400g)
1tbsp sea salt
5tbsp plain flour
3tbsp lemon thyme leaves
Oil for frying
200g sheep’s or goat’s cheese
2tbsp honey

Method
1 Cut the aubergines lengthways into 1cm-thick slices. Put them in a colander and sprinkle the salt over them, then leave for at least half an hour.

2 Put the plain flour on a plate and season it with salt and ground black pepper. Finely chop the lemon thyme leaves and stir into the flour. Pat the aubergines dry, then, one by one, put them in the seasoned flour and press them down firmly so the flour sticks to the outside. Then turn and lightly coat the other side. Repeat with all of the slices of aubergine.

3 Warm a shallow layer of olive oil in a frying pan, then lower in the aubergine slices in a single layer (you may need to do this in batches), and let them cook for three or four minutes, until golden. Turn carefully, adding more oil if necessary, and brown the other side. They should be lightly crisp.

4 Remove the aubergines from the pan and drain briefly on kitchen paper. Transfer to a warm serving dish. Break the cheese into large pieces and scatter among the aubergines. Trickle the honey across the surface and serve while still hot.

Greenfeast: Spring, Summer, by Nigel Slater, is published by 4th Estate Books

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