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 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.
Moussaka with a twist here, as Delia uses minced lamb to stuff aubergines in her own version of a Greek classic.
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!