30 mins to 1 hour
By Georgina Hayden
From Saturday Kitchen
For the baby aubergines
- 6 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the stuffing
- 5 garlic cloves, 2 finely sliced and 3 left whole
- 1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely sliced
- 1 red pepper, seeds removed and chopped into 1cm/½in pieces
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 125g/4½oz walnuts
- ½ bunch fresh coriander, leaves and stalks separated, leaves roughly chopped
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 10 baby aubergines
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the olives
- 500g/1lb 2oz small green olives, either fresh or in brine, drained
- 50ml/2fl oz extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lemons
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed
- sea salt
- few sprigs fresh coriander, finely chopped, to serve
- few pinches pul biber or red chilli flakes, to serve
To make the baby aubergines, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan over a medium–low heat. Add the sliced garlic and fry for a couple of minutes, then add half of the chilli and all of the chopped red pepper. Fry for 10 minutes, then stir in the chopped tomatoes and season well with salt and pepper. Fill the tin with water, add to the pan and bring to the boil. When it starts to bubble, reduce the heat and stir in the vinegar. Simmer for 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a little.
While the sauce is simmering, make the aubergine stuffing. Place the three remaining garlic cloves into a food processor along with the walnuts. Add the coriander stalks to the bowl. Add the dried chilli flakes, cinnamon, cumin and ground coriander to the food processor and season well with salt and pepper. Blitz everything together until finely chopped then add just enough olive oil to bring the mixture together.
Leaving the stalks intact, slice the aubergines in half lengthways twice so that they are in four quarters but still connected by the stalk. Stuff the inside of the aubergines with the walnut mixture, stuffing a couple of teaspoons of mixture into each. This is best done with your hands in order to compress the nuts inside. Reserve any remaining mixture for the sauce.
Place a large lidded frying pan over a medium–low heat and add 4 tablespoons olive oil. Gently lay the aubergines in the pan and fry for 8–10 minutes, until softened on one side, then turn them over and fry on the other side for 5 minutes.
At this stage either carefully transfer the aubergines to a plate, spoon the sauce into the frying pan and place the aubergines on top of the sauce or spoon the sauce around the aubergines and nestle them in. Dot any remaining walnut mixture in the sauce, cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes until the aubergines are tender. Scatter the coriander leaves over the top just before serving.
To make the olives, place the olives in a bowl. Stir in the oil and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Cut the remaining whole lemon into 1cm/½in slices. Stir the garlic and lemon slices into the olives, then add the coriander seeds. Stir together, taste and season with the salt and add more lemon juice if needed. Serve immediately or ideally leave for a few days so the olives really take on all the flavours. If leaving for a few days, chill the olives covered in the fridge, then leave at room temperature for a few hours before serving. Serve the olives with the coriander stirred through and sprinkled with the pul biber or red chilli flakes.
Serve the aubergines in the sauce with the olives alongside.