I had yet another giant lemon that needed using up and turned to the internet in search of some inspiring recipe. A sale on a glut of aubergines and a recipe for them with lemon by Yotam Ottolenghi seemed just the ticket. However, I wasn’t keen on actually turning on my oven in the hot weather (the heat leaks and heats our entire living room) and adapted the recipe to use aubergines cooked over our gas stove.

Aubergines with Fried Onions and Chopped Lemon

What a great dish it turned out to be! I loved the acidity of the lemon in combination with the sharp feta, silky aubergines and sweet onions. It would make a great side dish or…y’know, just spoon it all into your mouth and call it dinner.

Aubergines with Fried Onions and Chopped Lemon

Aubergines with Fried Onions and Chopped Lemon
adapted from an Ottolenghi recipe.
serves 2-4.

2 large or 5-6 small aubergines
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small lemon or 1/2 a giant lemon
feta cheese

Barbecue or grill the aubergines over a gas flame until soft and black all over. Let cool and then peel them and chop the flesh into large chunks. Set aside.

Heat a frying pan or saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the thinly sliced onions and let cook until caramelised (this will take a while). Add the garlic and cumin and cook and stir through. Stir through the aubergine chunks until mixed well and warmed through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Plate.

Peel and seed the lemon and chop its flesh up and scatter on top of the aubergine mixture. Likewise, crumble however much feta cheese you’d like and scatter that on top too.

Set aside and serve at room temperature.

I came home from Ischia with three giant lemons and lots of ideas of what to do with them. The lemons grown in Ischia are a giant kind that seems to also be famous in nearby Sorrento. I mean, I’m really not kidding – look at the size of them!

The lemons here are massive!

They’re very flavourful and not too sour. My first thought was pasta. I was going to recreate the lemon linguine I had by the beach. Of course, scampi (they looked like what we know as langoustines) are difficult to come by and my little supermarket only had cooked prawns. They would have to do. And they did fine! I love how refreshing the lemon is, especially in the recent hot weather.  I didn’t manage to get as much liquid as they had in the dish I had in Ischia but I’m confident that this is just some of the pasta water added to the sauce.

Of course, if you don’t have the giant lemons, a regular lemon will do!

Linguine with Lemon and Prawns

Linguine with Prawns and Lemon
serves 2.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
zest from 1 regular lemon or 1/2 a huge lemon
juice from the lemon
200g cooked prawns
250g linguine
2 tbsps butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
basil

Set a pot of water to boil and then boil your linguine until al dente.

The sauce will come together in a snap. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic and watch it sizzle. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and the prawns and let the prawns heat through. Take off the heat and melt in the butter. Taste and season with salt and pepper and more lemon juice if you feel it’s necessary.

Add the linguine and toss through with some torn basil and serve.

It’s getting hot in here… in the kitchen, I mean! Our living room/kitchen becomes quite the sauna in the afternoon and while we do want something freshly cooked for dinner, we don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking it. Enter this recipe.

Tuna with Lemon and Basil Spaghetti

I originally saw a recipe for tuna, lemon and basil spaghetti on a Waitrose recipe card but felt that the amounts needed a bit of adjusting. More capers, some pine nuts for texture and flavour and ditto with black pepper were added along with an extra good glug of olive oil. One day, we found ourselves with no basil and so substituted parsley with good results. It’s a great summer pasta and it comes together quickly with barely any time spent over a hot stove.

Tuna with Lemon and Parsley Spaghetti

Spaghetti with Tuna and Lemon
serves 2.

1 can or jar of a very good quality tuna packed in extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
4 tsps capers
3-4 tbsps pine nuts
1 small bunch basil or a small handful of parsley
200-250g dried spaghetti or linguine
freshly cracked black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Set a large pot of water to boil and when it is, salt it well and start cooking your pasta.

In a small pan over medium heat, toast the pinenuts, stirring often (adding a little olive oil to fry them is also recommended!). Set aside. If using basil, cut the leaves into a chiffonade and set aside; if using parsley, chop it and set aside.

In a large bowl, empty the can of tuna and gently flake it into bite sized pieces with a fork. Add the zest of the lemon as well as its juice. Roughly chop the drained capers and add those along with the toasted pinenuts. Grind in as much black pepper as you like.

The spaghetti should be done by now. Drain and add to the bowl. Toss everything together, add the herbs and continue tossing until mixed well. Add more olive oil if it looks like it needs it – we use quite a bit! Serve.

I’m submitting this post to Presto Pasta Nights, this week hosted by Fuss Free Flavours.