The ‘nightshade’ vegetables sometimes get a bad rap from the health brigade but during the summer months, when they are plentiful, aubergines, tomatoes and peppers come into their own and the flavours that result when combining this trio are glorious.
When we wrote our first book, Moro: The Cookbook, we included a recipe called Turlu Turlu (so good we named it twice!), a sort of Turkish version of ratatouille, spiced and exotically herbed and with roasted vegetables to add sweetness and complexity of texture. Aubergines, peppers and tomato sauce play a vital role in this recipe as they do in many of the Mediterranean-inspired dishes on our restaurant menus.
For home cooks, a tasty dish that is easy to prepare on a busy week night, aubergine and tomato pilav is a winner, delicious on its own or a perfect accompaniment to meat and fish; another favourite of ours to cook at home is tomato and red pepper sauce which we serve with Sea Bass (the recipe is in Casa Moro). And a more unusual way to cook courgette and aubergine is to blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes until tender, drain and make into a delicious salad by marinating the vegetables in a charmoula dressing, made with cumin, garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, sweet paprika, fresh coriander and extra virgin olive oil.
The nightshade vegetables are the perfect vehicle for these summer flavours; not deadly, but simply divine!