I used the above ingredients to prepare an excellent meal a few nights ago. It was one of those end of the week meals where the few ingredients remaining in the fridge dictate the meal. Okay, the onion, garlic and parsley were not in the fridge. Nor were the pasta, oil and pepper that have not been pictured. But I am sure most people have a regular night when the meal is dictated by a few fresh foods in the fridge.
The magic ingredients were the red onion and the fresh flat-leaf parsley. I first met the magic combination in “Peas with Eggs and Chourico” (a superb dish), on page 147 of the 2008 edition of “piri piri starfish” by Tessa Kiros (my cooking guru). Despite cooking the dish many times, I did not appreciate just how much the first step contributed to the overall flavour.
A couple of years later I tried a magazine recipe called ‘Moroccan Mushrooms’. One night I was too tired or lazy to follow the recipe as written (with the few extra vegetables I routinely tossed in), and was inspired to begin by cooking the chopped onion and parsley together (in olive oil). The aroma was incredible. Keep the heat low, stir occasionally, watch the onion become translucent, then Yum!
So now that is my magic trick. So simple, yet so effective. Finely chop the red onion, chop the flat-leaf parsley (scissors can do this quickly if you are not in the mood for the knife, and include the stems), then cook them in olive oil on a low-to-medium heat so that the onion does not brown, and then toss in the other ingredients. (So for the pasta, I first added the green capsicum to the onion & parsley, then the chopped mushrooms and eggplant, then the finely chopped garlic clove). I’m not sure when I added the cracked black pepper, and I mixed in the cooked pasta before serving with parmesan cheese (freshly grated).
It seemed like a meal that had been planned, not a meal that was a mish-mash of leftovers. Delicious!