Nigel Slater’s summery vegetarian aubergines pack a flavour punch and are perfect for the barbecue.
4 medium or 6 small aubergines
For the marinade
2 sticks lemongrass
2 hot red chillies, seeds removed
100g/3½oz creamed coconut
2 tbsp fish sauce
finely grated zest of 1 lime plus juice of 2 limes
If the aubergines are thin then slice them in half. If they are thicker cut them into thick slices. They should no thicker than a couple of centimetres at their thickest point.
For the marinade, peel away and discard the outer layer of the lemongrass, then slice the stalks very finely. Put into the bowl of a food processor with the red chillies, and the creamed coconut. Blitz briefly then add the fish sauce. Stir in the lime zest and all of the lime juice.
Lay the aubergine slices in a shallow dish and spoon the marinade over them. Roll them over a couple of times to coat them with the spice paste. Leave for a good hour, or longer if you have time, so that the flavours can really soak in.
Preheat the grill to a medium to high setting. Place the slices of aubergine, cut sides down, onto the grill and cook until the marinade has formed a light crust on the underside. Depending on the heat of your grill this will take anything from 10-15 minutes, but watch the aubergines carefully so the undersides don’t burn.
Turn the aubergine slices over and cook until softened completely, then serve.