This week’s potatoes are new ‘Coleen’ from Pembrokeshire. The cabbage, asparagus, lettuce (standard and UK boxes) and tomatoes (no-potatoes and larger boxes) are Yorkshire grown. Traditionally growers stop cutting asparagus around midsummer’s day. It’s important to give the plants the rest of the summer to recover, but this year the season started slowly and has been hampered by atrocious weather and most growers will probably keep harvesting a little longer. The asparagus is obviously quite an expensive item and uses up a lot of our budget for the boxes. Fortunately Spanish aubergines are a bargain at the moment which helps balance things out. For UK only boxes we’ve found a few broad beans; another crop that’s struggled in the poor weather, but we’re hoping for plenty next week. For a bit of a change, and because there aren't many other root vegetables around at the moment, large boxes have sweet potatoes shipped from the USA. I have a feeling they would work as well as the new potatoes in the following recipe.
NEW POTATO AND AUBERGINE GRATIN
500g new potatoes scraped or peeled
2 medium onions thinly sliced
a 400g tin of tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
150g coarse breadcrumbs
100g parmesan cheese grated
1/2 tsp dried or 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp dried or 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
2 bay leaves, 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
5 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Cut the aubergine and potatoes into 2cm pieces.
Boil the potatoes until tender, drain and set aside.
In a frying pan heat 2 tbsp olive oil and fry the aubergine until soft and lightly browned. Put the aubergine in a bowl and set aside.
Heat another tbsp olive oil in the same pan and gently fry the onions, garlic, thyme and sage until the onions are very soft.
Add the tomatoes, aubergine, tomato puree and bay leaves, 1/2 tsp salt and 200ml water, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
Pour into an oven proof dish, stir in the potatoes, taste and season well.
Mix the breadcrumbs with the cheese and remaining 2 tbsp oil and scatter over the top. Bake for 25 minutes at 180 c or until golden and bubbling.