Aubergines, they’re bloody hard to master cooking. At once both hard and slimy, I will happily admit I generally struggle cooking the purple tumescent fruit into anything delicious. Except, that is, baba ghanoush which has to be the best way to deal with this troublesome ingredient. And you get to burn the bastard thing to death first for any previous woes. You may think I have aubergine anger issues but ultimately this is for the good of your baba ghanoush as well. You see the blackened crispy skin, that’s what gives you the smokey note essential to this dish.
Think of it as a hummus with aubergine instead of chickpeas. Juicy, tangy, smokey. Somewhere between a dip and a side dish, it adds bags of flavour and moisture to all sorts of dishes, particularly big cuts of lamb.
Recipe – feeds 6 as a side
- 2 medium aubergines
- 1 large garlic clove
- Sea salt
- 4 tablespoons of tahini
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 pomegranate (optional)
- A handful of coriander / parsley (optional)
- 1 lemon
Firstly grill your aubergines. If you happen to have a hot BBQ / wood-fire going then great, use that. Otherwise grill directly on your hob until properly blackened and softened, around 10 minutes turning periodically. You’ll think it’s burnt, it’s not and actually is easier to peel and much tastier with that smokey flavour. Make sure you have a window open and the extractor on! Leave to cool in a bowl. In the meantime finely chop the garlic clove and then crush with 1 tsp of sea salt to a paste, using the flat of the blade scraped along the board to squash it all together. Add to a bowl along with the juice of the lemon.
Once the aubergines have cooled, gently peel the blackened skin (or as much as you can) off and add the peeled aubergine to your bowl with the garlic and lemon, adding as much of the juices as you can. Roughly chop with a knife / fork in the bowl to a rough texture. Then add the olive oil and tahini and stir. Adjust for seasoning, both in terms of lemon and salt plus some pepper. To serve, mix through some pomegranate seeds and the herbs.