A regional celebration

The Food of Spain and Portugal

A regional celebration (Kyle Cathie Ltd, 2005)


“Luard’s writing is elegant and her food is always excellent.” The Times

“It's beautifully written, lavishly illustrated... packed with the fascinating food history of these countries, as well as delectable recipes.” Tom Parker Bowles, Mail on Sunday

“No cookery writer knows Spain better... a beautiful addition to every kitchen” The Independent

“If you were to buy one book on Iberian cooking, this should be it” Telegraph


Pez de tierra

Aubergine puree
Fish-out-of-water - earth-fish, to give it a more direct translation - is a fast-day dish, eaten on meatless Fridays with bread. The aubergine, in any event, is known throughout the Mediterranean as the poor-man’s meat - an invaluable ingredient for modern vegetarian cooks. Although it’s a summer vegetable, the aubergine could be dried for consumption through the winter, so the dish was not subjected to the demands of season. And even if you didn’t grow your own, the aubergine was considerably cheaper than the alternative, salt-cod - pez de monte, ‘mountain fish.
Serves 4

2 large, firm aubergines
5-6 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed

To finish (optional)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika

Hull the aubergines and chunk them - don't bother with salting and rinsing.
Heat the oil in a roomy frying pan. Add the garlic and cook it for a minute or two. Add the chunked aubergine, the crushed coriander and salt lightly. Fry, turning as each side cooks, until perfectly soft - about 10 minutes on a medium heat. Pour the contents of the pan into the food processor and reduce it all to a speckled puree, or use a pestle and mortar. Pile in a bowl and finish with a sprinkle of paprika.
Serve at room temperature with bread for dipping.

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