Nigel Slater’s recipes for aubergine, lemon and parsley couscous, and for pear, walnuts and gorgonzola | Meals

‘Cook the walnuts only briefly, just enough to warm them’: pear, walnuts and gorgonzola.

My heavy cast-iron casserole has been incomes its hold this winter. The enamelled inside stained from many years of curries, stews and lengthy, gradual cooking, there may be barely every week it doesn’t sit on the hob or within the oven, its contents puttering gently in the direction of tenderness. This week, my expensive outdated pal (it have to be no less than 25 years outdated) nurtured a spice-scented aubergine dish seasoned with bay, chilli flakes and spices, its sauce a deep brick purple from a recipe that included purple wine and tomatoes.

I ought to have waited to carry the lid till the pot was on the desk, when everybody might share the scent of the steam and its gentle, earthy spice notes. However, as a cook dinner, there may be at all times a pure temptation to peep at your handiwork.

The lid lifted and a ladle sunk deep into the sauce, we scooped every thing up with mounds of couscous freckled with lemon zest and parsley. The subsequent day, I snaffled the leftovers, eaten cool, like a caponata with flatbread, and adopted it with heat pears, gorgonzola and toasted walnuts.

Sluggish-cooked aubergine, lemon and parsley couscous

Serves 4 as a scrumptious principal course.

For the aubergines:
aubergines 800g
olive oil 100ml
onions 2, medium
garlic 4 cloves
bay leaves 4
thyme sprigs 6
chilli flakes 1 tsp
cumin seeds 1 tsp
floor coriander 2 tsp
salt 1 tsp
tomatoes 350g
tomato purée 2 tbsp
purple wine 250ml
vegetable inventory 500ml

For the couscous:
superb couscous 150g
lemon 1
coriander leaves 4 tbsp

Take away and discard the stems from the aubergines. Reduce them in half lengthways after which into quarters. Reduce every quarter into 3cm-long items.

Heat a griddle (you have to to place the extractor fan on or open the window). Put half the aubergines on the griddle, allow them to cook dinner for a few minutes till darkish traces seem on the underside, then flip and repeat. Elevate them off with kitchen tongs and put aside. Proceed with the remaining aubergines.

Peel and roughly chop the onion. Heat the oil in a big, deep pan that can even go within the oven. Add the onions. Go away them to cook dinner for 10 minutes or so till gentle and translucent. Peel and thinly slice the garlic, then add to the onion and proceed to cook dinner for a minute or two. Preheat the oven to 190C/fuel mark 5.

Stir within the bay leaves, thyme, chilli, cumin, coriander and salt. Proceed cooking for a couple of minutes till every thing is shiny.

Roughly chop the tomatoes and add them to the pan, then stir within the tomato purée. Proceed cooking for five minutes, then pour within the wine and inventory, flip the warmth up and produce to the boil. Take away from the warmth, cowl with a lid and switch to the oven. Go away to bake for about 45 minutes till the aubergine is gentle and the sauce wealthy and thick.

To make the couscous: put the kettle on. Put the couscous right into a heatproof bowl, pour in sufficient of the boiling water to cowl the grains by 2cm, cowl and put aside for 10 minutes till the couscous is swollen and has soaked up all of the water. Finely chop the parsley, grate the lemon zest and stir into the couscous with a fork. Serve with the aubergines.

Pear, walnuts and gorgonzola

‘Cook the walnuts only briefly, just enough to warm them’: pear, walnuts and gorgonzola.
‘Prepare dinner the walnuts solely briefly, simply sufficient to heat them’: pear, walnuts and gorgonzola. {Photograph}: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

When including the walnuts to the pan, cook dinner them solely briefly, simply sufficient to heat them. Overcooking a walnut will make it bitter. When you occur to have walnut oil in the home, use half olive and half walnut oil within the dressing. Serves 2

sourdough or different open-textured
white bread
olive oil 4 tbsp
walnut halves 25g
Comice or different giant pears 2
butter 20g
gorgonzola 200g
lettuce or chicory leaves 6

For the dressing:
Dijon mustard 1 tsp
honey 1 tsp
cider vinegar 2 tbsp
olive oil 4 tbsp

Make the dressing: put the mustard in a small mixing bowl, add the honey and a beneficiant pinch of salt. Pour within the vinegar then, utilizing a small whisk or a fork, beat within the olive oil. Grind in a bit of salt and black pepper after which put aside.

Slice the pears in half, then minimize every half into 3 thick slices from stem to flower finish, eradicating the cores as you go.

Take away the crusts from the bread, then tear the bread into small rough-edged items. Warmth the olive oil in a shallow pan over a average warmth, place the bread into the recent oil and cook dinner it for a few minutes on all sides till it’s crisp and golden. As you flip the bread, add the walnuts to the pan and allow them to heat via. Take away the bread and nuts from the pan and drain them on some kitchen paper.

Place the sliced pears within the pan, with the butter and a bit of extra oil if the bread has soaked all of it up, then cook dinner them for five or 6 minutes on all sides till the pears are tender and have colored properly.

Switch the cooked pears to the dressing, add the crisped bread and walnuts and toss gently to coat every thing with the dressing.

Put the leaves on 2 plates, add the pears, nuts and bread. Spoon the gorgonzola subsequent to the pears, trickle over any remaining dressing and serve.

Observe Nigel on Instagram @NigelSlater