I’ve landed in a city for the first time in many years, and I’m finding it pretty hard to adapt since leaving the countryside. To deal with this newness I’ve been seeking out “sanctuary spots”, places where humans rarely go or leave their mark, and if they do it is with reverence rather than the insane madness of perpetual shopping and the rushing here and there that city folk seem to get caught up in.
So the other day while doing my morning walking meditation I chanced upon a fine spot of ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata). Healthy and vibrant she was, nestled in shade growing up loud and proud. “Oi, Robin, over here” I heard her call.
“Yes me Lady”, I replied.
“Go on, give me a bit more of a go than just trying me blooming buds or salad for heavens sake”, and with a slap on the wrist for being lazy and passing her by so many times, I gathered a few handfuls of her choicest leaves, all supple and soft and returned to the kitchen, not having the faintest idea what on earth I was going to create with her. And so this is where she ended up, that oh-so vocal ribwort plantain…
- 6 handfuls of young ribwort plantain leaves (ripped up)
- 3 aubergine (4mm slices)
- 1 onion (sliced)
- 4 garlic cloves (sliced)
- 1 avocado (halved and sliced)
- 400g greek strained yoghurt
- 400g passata (crushed tomatoes)
- rapeseed oil
- grated cheddar cheese
- cracked black pepper
- Boil the ribwort plantain for 3 minutes, strain and squeeze the water out, then chop finely. Set aside.
- Blanch the aubergine in salted water, strain and set aside.
- Fry onion and garlic until soft, then add the ribwort plantain leaves, stir for 30 seconds, then add the passata. Cook until a thick sauce, and season with cracked black pepper.
- Next put a layer of sliced aubergine in an ovenproof dish, then on top put the sliced avocado. Pour over half the ribwort plantain sauce, then smear with the greek yoghurt.
- Now add the remaining aubergine slices, and top with the remaining sauce and finish off with some grated cheese.
- Bake in a 160 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until it looks done.