Something about August and all the summer produce has put me in a Summer Mezze frame of mind! I have been inspired by Yasmin Khan’s The Saffron Tales, Recipes from the Persian Kitchen. I’ll be posting other recipes inspired by this book over the next few weeks.
This roasted aubergine dip with loads of mint and basil gets its smoky taste from roasting it on a charcoal grill. But don’t let that stop you, it is just as good roasted in the oven. You can use tahini instead of pureed walnuts and add a bit of toasted sesame oil as well. The pomegranate seeds are eye candy and provide a nice crunch against the silky flesh of the aubergine. Pair this with the Kubaneh Bread for a Summer Mezze starter.
Roasted Aubergine Dip
Roast the eggplant for this baba ganoush dip on the charcoal grill or in your oven. It is a brilliant way to use all those lovely eggplants piling up in the farmer's markets in August.
- Immersion blender or food processor
- 4 – 5 Large aubergines
- 75 grams Walnuts (ground to a paste, or 1 tbsp tahini)
- 2 Garlic cloves (crushed)
- 2 tbsp Lemon juice
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (optional)
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (optional use with tahini)
- 8 Basil leaves (finely chopped)
- 8 Mint leaves (finely chopped)
- Black pepper
- 2 Mint leaves (chopped)
- 1 tbsp Pomegranate seeds
Prepare a charcoal grill for indirect cooking or preheat the oven to 220 C/425 F
Pierce the aubergines a few times with a sharp fork as you would with a baking potato to prevent them from exploding and place them on the grill or in the oven. Cook for about 1 hour, turning them frequently so they are black and burnt on the outside.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly before removing their skins. Place the flesh in a sieve and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Leave them for 10 minutes and then give them a good squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Roughly shop and set aside.
Add the walnut or tahini paste to the aubergines along with the remaining ingredients and 1 teaspoon sea salt and five turns of the pepper mill in the bowl of an immersion blender or a food processor. Process briefly until it is homogeneous but not completely smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning then let it sit for an hour at room temperature or refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving with the chopped mint and pomegranate seeds.
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