Marinated Aubergines, Zucchini & Mushrooms

When I prepared this blog post before my vacation two weeks ago, I couldn’t believe that after complaining about the bad spring weather for so long summer was finally here and the gorgeous weather seemed to be stable. With my balcony plants in full bloom, I felt like I was living out there! Every day after work I sat outside with coffee and a book and only went inside when it got too dark to read. Still do, actually. On the weekends I start my day with the first cup of coffee out there before it gets too hot to sit in the sun.

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The atmosphere made me feel like I was on vacation, which in turn made me think of Italy (where I happen to just have returned from two days ago). This triggered today’s recipe as it has a mediterranean feel to it. It’s actually two recipes combined, one being for fried & marinated aubergines with garlic yogurt, the other for a marinade. Both are in my handwritten recipe notebook, copied from a friend’s photocopies. So I’m sorry to say I’m unable to name the source – not even whether the copies were from a cookbook or a magazine – as this was so many years ago.

Once marinated, these veggies need to sit in the fridge for 3 – 4 hours, and the preparation time is probably another hour; I forgot to time it, but with frying three different kinds of vegetables, it must be about that. It’s worth it, though. I made this on a Sunday morning so everything would be ready for a late lunch.

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The only disadvantage to making this was that after frying I walked out of the kitchen and realised there was smoke from frying hovering in faint billows all over the place, so you might want to make sure to open your windows while cooking and maybe get a good cross-breeze going…

A note on the flour: next time I wouldn’t coat the mushrooms in flour, it makes for an unusual consistency. For the aubergines and zucchini, I believe the coating makes them absorb the marinade better, so I’d keep on coating those.

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Marinated Aubergines, Zucchini & Mushrooms

1 medium-sized aubergine
1 large zucchini
1 punnet mushrooms
8 chillies
flour for coating
oil for frying

balsamic vinegar
salt + pepper [both freshly ground, preferably]
1 garlic clove
1 bunch flatleaf parsley
olive oil

Garlic Yogurt
300 g natural full fat yogurt
1 garlic clove
salt + pepper [both freshly ground, preferably]
2 stalks fresh mint

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Prepare the vegetables by slicing the aubergines into rounds (0.5 cm thick), slicing the zucchini lengthways, and quartering the mushrooms. Cut the chilies in half and de-seed [wear rubber gloves!]

Coat all vegetables except the chillies in  flour, then fry in olive oil – in batches – until browned. Once they’re done, fry the chillies. Put everything on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. Put the chillies aside – they don’t get marinated!

For the marinade, finely chop the parsley and garlic clove, then add salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Stir well. [I didn’t measure the ingredients. Just placed the chopped parsley and garlic into a small drinking glass and topped that with mainly balsamic and not too much oil.]

Place each kind of vegetable in flat dish (e.g. casserole dish)  to marinade, placing one layer, marinating it, then placing the next layer etc. [I used a tablespoon to get the marinade directly onto each piece of vegetable instead of pouring it over, as otherwise they might swim in it and get too soggy. My estimate is that each piece of vegetable got marinated with about ½ tbsp of liquid.]

Leave to marinate in the fridge for 3 – 4 hours.

For the garlic yogurt, chop garlic, stir into the yogurt, and leave for a while to infuse. Before serving, chop the mint and stir into the yogurt.

Take the marinated vegetables out of the fridge about 30 minutes before serving. Arrange vegetables on a serving platter, placing the fried chillies on top. Serve the garlic yogurt separately, and enjoy with some flatbread.

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