Monday, 23 January 2012

The best Aubergine salad ever!

Being a dedicated follower of anything Ottolenghi, when I'm planning a dinner party my first point of reference is always him. I have yet to find a dud recipe in one of his books.

Last Saturday night was no exception, I came across the Roasted Aubergine salad dressed with saffron yogurt in his first book Ottolenghi, The Cookbook. Couldn't believe how I'd managed to miss such a magnificent salad up until now! Easily assembled, ready in no time and can be prepared up to a couple of days in advance. It looks far more impressive than the amount of effort involved to create such a beautiful dish. Heavenly sumptuous and utterly delicious - go get some aubergines and get roasting. Needless to say my guests loved it and sadly there was none leftover! Just so you know I doubled the recipe to serve 6 people as a starter though the book states it serves 4-6.

Here is the recipe:

2 medium-sized aubergines
olive oil for brushing
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
a large handful of pomegranate seeds
a large handful of basil leaves
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Saffron yogurt:
a small pinch of saffron strands
3 Tbsp hot water
200 g thick Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, finely crushed
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt flakes

Start by making the sauce. Place the saffron strands into glass, pour over the hot water and let infuse for 5 minutes. Pour the infusion into a bowl containing the yoghurt, crushed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and some salt. Whisk well to get a smooth, golden sauce. Taste for seasoning and chill until ready to use (Can be made up to 3 days in advance).
Cut the aubergines/eggplants into 1 cm slices (cross-wise). Brush both sides with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill on a very hot griddle pan until soft and golden brown, then flip over and fry the other side until golden brown as well. (Alternatively - and originally - roast for 20-30 minutes in a 220 C oven). (This can also be done up to 3 days in advance. Keep the roasted aubergine slices in the fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving).
To serve - layer the roasted aubergine slices onto a serving dish, slices slightly overlapping. Drizzle with saffron yogurt, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, torn basil leaves and pomegranate seeds