Before I started school I knew the difference between garden, spearmint and apple mint, it had been an essential part of my mothers kitchen and, in turn mine, for it is, without doubt, one of the indispensable culinary herbs. It has been used in cooking for thousands of years. The beneficial properties of mint in cooking are well known, these being as a digestive, antispasmodic and carminative. In addition it also has antioxidant and antiviral properties.

Mint and Aubergine bruschetta.

( Recipe from Jekka’s Herb Cook Booked published by Ebury)

The flavour of mint, aubergine and garlic is a great combination which makes these bruschetta so appetising.

For those, like me, that like to know the meaning of words, ‘bruschetta’ is derived form the Italian ‘bruscare’ which means ‘to roast over coals’, alternatively you could call this posh toast. This is a lovely starter, or first course, for an early autumn meal.

Serves 4

  • 1 Baguette, (French Stick)
  • 2 firm aubergines
  • 6 tbs olive oil
  • Lemon zest and juice
  • 2 tbs spearmint, Tashkent, Moroccan or Garden mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and very finely sliced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Slice the aubergine on the diagonal, 1cm thick, sprinkle with salt and set aside for about 40 minutes. Place the aubergine in a colander and wash well under cold running water. Pat the aubergine dry using a clean tea towel or paper towels. Heat a griddle pan until nice and hot. Lay your aubergine slices on it side by side and, when they are nicely charred on both sides, put them into a salad bowl. You will probably need to cook the aubergine in several batches.
While the aubergine are cooking, put olive oil and the vinegar into a mixing bowl, mix thoroughly until amalgamated, add the chopped parsley and mint and then the garlic and one teaspoon of lemon zest, season with salt and pepper to taste. When the aubergine is cooked, add them to the bowl and mix around, then check the seasoning again. Heat a grill to hot, slice the baguette on the diagonal, 2-3cm thick, grill on both sides. Once the toasted baguettes have cooled add the mint and aubergine mix to the slices, press in so that the juices seep into the toast and serve.

The queen of herbs on the king of herbs (Video)