Despite what what some people say about restaurateurs, I’m a great fan of vegetarian food. Why not? All food’s great if cooked well with the best ingredients.
A current vegetable-based dish on our menu is this aubergine casserole which, while having many of the same ingredients of ratatouille, is a very different dish by dint of it not being cooked until totally soft. By leaving some bite to the vegetables it makes a good main course on its own. And, as most of my dishes, it’s really very simple.
One large tin of butter beans – drained
A handful or so of cherry tomatoes
Two sticks of celery
One clove of garlic
One teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
A handful of fresh parsley – chopped
Rapeseed or olive oil
Cut the aubergines into bite-sized chunks, peel and thinly slice the onion, wash and cut the celery sticks into 2cm lengths and peel and crush the clove of garlic.
Heat a large heavy-based saucepan, add a glug of rapeseed or olive oil and gently fry the onion and garlic until softened but not brown – about ten minutes or so.
Add the butter beans, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and parsley along with a little salt and black pepper. Stir, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender but still with some shape and texture. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Serve in warm bowls with crusty bread.
Previously published in The Northern Echo