At their best July to September
Chefs and cooks seem to have an endless debate about aubergines: to salt and drain, or not to salt and drain. I’m for the former.
I do take the point that the modern aubergine has evolved to a state where it does not contain bitter juices, but the juices are there, nonetheless, and I find salting and draining gets rid of excess moisture and concentrates the flavour – there’s nothing worse than a watery aubergine.
Aubergines also have a capacity to absorb other flavours, so are great mixed with tomatoes and spices, cheese or pulses.
They also absorb oil at an incredible rate, so frying is not recommended. I find the best way to cook them is either by oven-roasting or char-grilling.
This frugal recipe includes aubergines, peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes so will be cheapest to make in early autumn when these ingredients are in season: enjoy!
Moussaka with a twist here, as Delia uses minced lamb to stuff aubergines in her own version of a Greek classic.
This lovely, Italian-inspired aubergine recipe is the essence of late-summer eating and would be a good addition to your barbecue repertoire.
Although moussaka is a Greek classic, Delia has added an Italian element with a ricotta topping for a creamy and lighter touch than the traditional bechamel sauce.
A classic ratatouille is wonderful, but if you roast the vegetables it takes it to another dimension and retains all the vegetables' flavour and texture.
A great midweek supper, with everything cooked together. Lamb and aubergines partner each other beautifully, offering more than a hint of Mediterranean flavour.
Bottle summer vegetables for a taste of summer in the depths of winter. These lovely Italian-style pickles are superb with a plate of charcuterie or cheeses and good bread.
Aubergines, tomatoes, mozzarella, anchovies and basil combine in this celebration of Italian ingredients. Eat it in late summer when aubergines and tomatoes are at their seaonal best.
Aubergines, tomatoes and Mozzarella are the classic ingredients of any classic Sicilian sauce for pasta, and roasting the tomatoes and aubergines to get them slightly charred adds an extra flavour dimension.
For strict vegetarians, exclude the anchovies.