Baked Aubergines with Salsa Verde

Words and images by Fiona Hugues

Sometimes all you need is a hero vegetable prepared deliciously to wow your guests. These small aubergines grilled until soft are fabulous on their own as a light lunch or as a side to grilled meats. Just add some leafy greens on the side.

3–4 small aubergines, halved

Extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper

a handful of Italian parsley

3–4 sprigs of basil

1 tsp capers

2–3 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

a good thick Greek yoghurt


Shove the herbs, capers, vinegar, and mustard in a jug and buzz with a stick mixer until pulverised. Add olive oil to loosen and season to taste.

TIP – if your salsa verde is a little bitter, add a teaspoon of honey. Blitz again. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 190°C fan bake.

Season the cut side of your aubergines with salt and pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy pan over medium/high heat and fry the aubergines in batches, cut side down, until well browned. Transfer to a lined baking tray and bake until softened, around 15–20 minutes.

Arrange baked aubergines on a serving platter and season. Place Greek yoghurt in a dish and swirl in the salsa verde. Serve alongside the aubergines.

SETTING NOTES – There’s something joyous about yarn-dyed red gingham that instantly adds frivolity to your tablescape, imagining scenes of balmy weather, buzzing bees amongst wildflower meadows, and deep blue skies. I accentuated the softness of this red check with pink striped napkins and pink patterned vintage ceramics. My trick here is to mix and match but keep some similarities running through – in this instance, feminine pinks and fancy embossing and edges on my serve ware. I added a woven placemat and raw bamboo handled vintage cutlery as a natural nod to alfresco eating.

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