Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Aubergine salad

I'd happily eat aubergines every night: slow roasted and pureed into a spiced babaganoush, simmered in a ratatouille, sliced and deep fried and dressed with red-wine vinegar and garlic... Last night I adapted an Ottolenghi recipe (substituting pine kernels for shavings of pistachio; and basil for mint) and I have to say it was the most darned delicious mouthful of aubergine that has ever passed my lips.

Aubergine with saffron yoghurt, pistachios, pomegranates and mint
Serves two as a light supper - alongside some really good humus (I spruce up the shop-bought stuff with my best olive oil, a handful of rinsed capers and some chopped fresh coriander) and steaming-hot flatbreads

1 aubergine
Olive oil
Pinch of saffron strands
Greek yoghurt
One garlic clove, crushed
Maldon salt and black pepper
large handful of shelled, chopped pistachios
the seeds of half a pomegranate, all white pith removed
Fresh mint leaves

Wash the aubergine, cut the stalk of and slice length-ways into long, thin strips (about 2cm thick). Brush with plenty of olive oil, scatter with salt and roast in a medium-hot oven for about 20-25 mins. Meanwhile, drop a pinch of saffron stands into a bowl, and slosh over a few tablespoons of boiling water from the kettle. Allow to infuse for 5 mins. Scoop two large spoonfuls of Greek yoghurt into a mixing bowl, drop in the saffron infused water (and strands), a good slosh of olive oil, one crushed garlic clove, salt and pepper. Whisk well into a creamy dressing.
To serve, allow the aubergines to cool slightly, arrange on a plate (not overlapping). Drizzle generously with the dressing, and then scatter liberally with the nuts and pomegranate seeds and decorate with whole mint sprigs.

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