Do you like my new header? It’s quite classy, init? I like it. It has purple asparagus in it.* I took this picture at the market, which is a pretty fun and educational place. Fun because there’s lots of people selling lots of stuff, and the ladies working there yell what they have on offer on the top of their voices, and in the middle of the building (it’s an inside market) there’s a piano and sometimes people come to play it. And sometimes they give you little discounts (mostly when they’re running low on change, but still). And it’s educational because people really take the time to explain what they’re selling when I ask them retarded questions about their wares. I’ve learned the origin of all of the different types of apples, the difference between several types of potatoes, I can now identify different chunks of carcasses and I know the word for ‘make juice out of’.
On one of my trips to the market I learned about violette. I thought they looked pretty peculiar, like aubergines, but round and a lot lighter in colour, more violet (hence the name). I had never had them before and the man selling them assured me they were just as tasty as aubergines, maybe a little milder. I used them to make something I’d normally make with aubergines, melanzane alla parmigiano. The violette weren’t bad, but I think I really prefer aubergines, which have a lot more flavour. It’s like aubergines just have more balls. If you put an aubergine in the blue corner, and a violetta in the red one, I’d put my money on the former. And the violetta would go down in the second round. So buy yourselves some badass, strong and tasty aubergines and make the following for you and a couple of others:
– 2 aubergines
– 2 balls of mozzarella
– garlic (I like to add in a fair bit but it’s up to you)
– 1 wee onion
– 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
– 1 carton of sieved tomatoes
– parmesan cheese
Heat the oven to about 180C. Slices the aubergines into slices (lengthways will result in fewer slices so less work in the end), sprinkle enough salt over both sides of all of them, chuck them in a collander and put a wee plate with something heavy on top to squeeze the nasty bitter juice out. Leave them like that for about half an hour. Meanwhile, chop up the garlic, some of it in tiny wee bits, some of it in slightly bigger chunks (but all of it fairly finely). Finely chop the onion. Heat some olive oil in a pan and start with frying the garlic. It’s OK if some of it goes a little brown. Gives the sauce balls, you know. Then add the onion, gently fry and add the tomatoes once the onion goes pretty soft. Add herbs (basil, origano), salt and a bit of suger to taste. If you have any, chuck in some red wine. Leave the sauce to simmer for a while, add some water if you think it’s too thick or too sour.
Dry the slices of aubergine with a tea towel or with enough kitchen roll. Fry them in batches until they’re nice and soft and have brownish bits. Cut the mozzarella into slices, too. Once you’re done, take an oven dish, and fill it with layers of sauce, aubergine, mozzarella, then sauce again, going on until you finish all of your ingredients (and preferably finishing with sauce, even if it’s only a little, however you don’t want to finish with mozzarella and aubergine might dry out if it’s all naked on top). Then cover the whole thing with parmesan and shove it in the oven for about half an hour.
*I had to look up the plural of asparagus. Apparently it’s more common to call them ‘spears of asparagus’, but in this case that would sound stupid. “It has purple spears of asparagus in it.” So in this case you can just use asparagus as plural, like sheep, and fish. How educational vegetables can be!