I can already hear it: some regular readers haven’t even got this far. They hate brinjals and the title had them going, “Yech!” Well, that’s tough because the fact that this is the third brinjal-focussed meal shows how versatile they are – without doing Melanzane di Parmigiana or ratatouille.
It should have been courgette pasta. Somehow, “courgette” didn’t make it onto the shopping list and when I looked in the fridge, the proverbial pantry was bare. There followed a string of unrepeatable expletives and after a lot of rooting around, I found mushrooms and two beautiful brinjals (bartered for two koeksisters at the market on Saturday – we do that a lot, here). Not enough time or enough tomatoes to make Melanzane di Parmigiana, too much brinjal and not enough of anything else don’t make for a good pasta sauce.
So, armed with these and bits freshly picked from the garden, and not boring you with the entire thought process, we ended up having ante pasta of brinjal salad.
Really simple: sautéed slices of brinjal, drained on absorbent paper, on a bed of freshly picked lettuce leaves, topped with slices of tomato, with a dollop of homemade cottage cheese. Each of these was garnished with a basil leaf and chopped chives. Over all of that, a good grind of black pepper, a light sprinkling of red wine vinegar* and a drizzle of olive oil.
This was followed by linguine into which I had stirred fresh, chopped oreganum and olive oil, topped with mushrooms sautéed with butter and garlic, and grated parmesan.
With the delicate flavours of the brinjal and cottage cheese, I knew that my usual Sauvignon Blanc would not be a great accompaniment, so we raided the wine rack and opened a Solms Delta Semillon Chenin Blanc blend. A lovely wine and a winning combination. A perfect meal that nearly didn’t happen…
*my favourite Cabernet Sauvignon balsamic style from Willow Creek.
First published 1 March 2015