BURNT EGGPLANT WITH TAHINI

This is another winning recipe from my new favorite cookbook called Plenty. This book authored by London based Yotam Ottolenghi, an Israeli born chef, who celebrates the vibrancy of vegetables in this Arab dish.

This is a wonderful eggplant dip recipe that is really easy to make. It can be served with anything from raw vegetables to pita chips.

BURNT EGGPLANT WITH TAHINI

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant


½ cup tahini paste


¼ cup water


2 tsp pomegranate molasses


1 tbsp lemon juice


1 garlic clove, crushed


3 tbsp chopped parsley

salt and black pepper


3 mini cucumbers (6 to 7 oz in total, optional)


¾ cup cherry tomatoes (optional)


Seeds from ½ large pomegranate


a little olive oil to finish

METHOD:

• First, burn the eggplant. To cook the eggplants on a gas stovetop, which is the most effective way, start by lining the area around the burners with foil to protect them. Put the eggplants directly on two moderate flames and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, turning frequently with metal tongs, until the flesh is soft and smoky and the skin is burnt all over. Keep an eye on them the whole time so they don’t catch fire. For an electric stove, pierce the eggplants with a sharp knife in a few places. Put them on a foil-lined tray and place directly under a hot broiler for 1 hour, turning them a few times. The eggplants need to deflate completely and their skin should burn and break. When cool enough to handle scoop out the flesh into a colander, avoiding the blackened skin. Leave to drain for at least 30 minutes.

• Chop the eggplant flesh roughly and transfer to a medium mixing bowl.

• Add the tahini, water, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and some salt and pepper.

• Mix well with a whisk.

• Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more garlic, lemon juice or molasses if needed.

• You want the salad to have a robust sour/slightly sweet flavor.

• If you want to add cucumber and tomatoes, cut the cucumbers lengthways in half and then each half lengthways in two.

• Cut each quarter into 3/8-inch-long pieces.

• Halve the tomatoes.

• Stir them and the cucumber into the eggplant mix.

• To serve, spread over a shallow dish, scatter the pomegranate seeds on top and drizzle with oil.

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