Crumbed aubergine with tomato and red pepper salsa and pea shoots

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Preparation info

  • Serves


    as a first course
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes


By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

This dish makes an excellent simple summer starter, although it can be a lovely accompaniment to grilled or pan-fried fish or chicken. Aubergines have a tendency to absorb a lot of oil when they’re fried – if you crumb them, they take on less, and the texture of the crunchy crumbs is a lovely contrast to the flesh inside. Pea shoots are the delicate tasty tendrils from the top of the pea plant. Known as dau miu, they have long been popular in Chinese cooking and in the cuisines of Southeast Asia, but they are now becoming increasingly available over here.


  • 1 large aubergine, around 450–500 g (or use 2 small-to-medium-sized ones)
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 large handfuls coarse breadcrumbs
  • few tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 handfuls of pea shoots (or use rocket, watercress or frisée)

For the Red Pepper Salsa

  • 1 red pepper, halved and deseeded
  • 2 tomatoes, halved and deseeded
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • handful of basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons finely snipped chives


Chop the base and stalk end off the aubergine, then cut it into 8 even-sized discs. Add a little ground pepper to the flour and place in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with a teaspoon of salt. Place the breadcrumbs in a third bowl. One by one, coat the slices with flour, shaking off excess, then dip them into the beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs – pressing these firmly on to the slices. Once they’re all coated, place on a tray in the fridge.

Make the red pepper salsa: cut the pepper and tomatoes into smallish dice. Cut both ends off the lemon and sit it upright on a chopping board. Cut the rind and pith from it. Cut the flesh into dice, discarding any pips, and mix with the tomatoes, pepper and olive oil. Season the mixture, then mix in the basil and chives.

Heat a frying pan and add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, then cook as many aubergine slices as can fit comfortably into the pan at one time until golden all over. (If the aubergine slices are very thick, you may want to finish them in an oven preheated to 180°C/gas 4 until they’re just cooked through.)

To Serve

Place one of the 4 largest aubergine slices on each of 4 plates. Place some pea shoots on top with half the salsa. Sit the remaining aubergine disc on top and spoon the remaining salsa and its juices on top.