It has been passed down in rhyme and song that Old Macdonald had a farm, y ail, y ail, aulx and on that farm he may well have had pigs, chickens and cows but there is no mention of garlic which is a shame as fresh, new garlic goes very well with pigs, chickens and cows, y ail, y ail, aulx. The difficulty of producing a catchy onomatopoeic rendering of the sound of garlic may well account for this omission but, owing to personal prejudice, I have never felt that Macdonald, or his ilk, could enjoy a happy association with good food, and his apparent disregard for garlic vindicates my presumption.Hell will be home to the netherworld’s most celebrated ice rink on the day that a Big Mac with extra roasted garlic appears on the hallowed,illuminated menu of the eponymous food chain.
Such is the way of the world that a selfie in front of the Mona Lisa is more desirable than a gander at Leonardo’s leering lovely, as is a sandwiched slab of compacted meat over a meltingly soft, thick slice of char grilled aubergine spread with a creamy layer of garlic infused mayonnaise, studded with capers and decorated with torn basil. Another menu option that the big pant fillers won’t be choosing….which is a shame because such a dish made with fresh garlic does not come with the pungency of dried garlic. The beauty of the bulbs themselves is reflected in the delicacy of the creamy interior of each roasted clove. It was my seduction, whilst shopping, by a trio of pastel hued garlic bulbs nestling close to a delicate pink and cream aubergine, compounded by the suggestiveness of an image in a fine cookery book* that drew me, dribbling, to this simple and wonderful dish….
..entitled “Grilled aubergines with roast garlic cream”. The young garlic bulbs are wrapped in loose packets of silver foil into which has been poured some good olive oil and a few sprigs of thyme. Roast them in a hot oven for just under an hour, leaving them to cool before handling them. Once cool enough,squeeze each clove between two fingers to release the creamy interior which is stirred into mayonnaise, loosened with a little milk. Meanwhile, the aubergine, skin scored from top to bottom, is cooking under the grill until the flesh is soft and the skin is oily dark and glistening. Cut the aubergine in half from top to bottom, season and dribble with dark green olive oil and place the cut side under the grill until there are sexy little burnt edges and it looks irresistible. Once on a plate, spoon over some garlic infused mayonnaise and scatter over a handful of capers and some torn basil leaves. I served these wonderful treats with a sharply seasoned salad of haricots blancs and white tuna, some primeur Noirmoutier potatoes and a green salad. This was a good summer lunch and not a Scottish farmer in sight.