Leafing through my grandmother’s recipes again, I’ve been seeing a lot of anchovies, which, after deciding to cook every dish she has penned out, I didn’t really want to attempt. Anchovies: I wasn’t a fan. I’m always avoiding them on pizzas or in anything really. But I do love aubergine – and for the sake of this dish, I decided to give anchovies another try.
I nibbled timidly at an oily fillet from one of those flat supermarket tins and I came to the conclusion that they were not that bad after all. Anchovies had made it my ‘Yes’ list. It must have been that clichéd general opinion of the offending fish that meant I never gave them any consideration.
Don’t let this happen to you. It is hardly as if most recipes ask you to eat them straight out of the tin. When you cook with them, they actually melt away into a nothingness and contribute an extra fullness in the overall flavour of a dish. Be it some sort of deep ragù or stuffed veg or mince meat dish, just a couple of small fillets can make a brilliant difference.
But back to the dish at hand: my grandmother’s stuffed aubergine. I have replaced her use of four tablespoons of breadcrumbs with a cup cous-cous, for more texture. Cous-cous was not a very popular ingredient in the post-war 1940’s. Instant cous-cous was probably hard to come by, if in existence at all and she would have had to steam her cous-cous pearls instead of just adding hot water. But feel free to use either.
2 finely chopped anchovy fillets
Chopped fresh parsley
2 ripe tomatos
6 chopped green olives
1 cup cous-cous
Preheat the oven to 200°. Cut and hollow out 2 inch sections of aubergines and sit in a small roasting pan. For the filling, pour 1 cup of boiling water onto 1 cup of cous-cous and stir. Leave covered for a few minutes to allow the water to be absorbed – it doesn’t have to be completely cooked it will continue cooking in the oven. Dice up the ripe tomatoes and mix with the chopped olives, anchovy filets parsley and plenty of freshly milled black pepper. Add the cous-cous and mix really well. Then stuff the hollowed aubergines.
Drizzle with a little olive oil and top with grated parmesan for a cheesy crust. Bake in the oven for half an hour.
Serve as a side to a meaty dish, or as a meal with a little salad. ~