Light Meals

Simple Roasted Aubergine

Aubergines are a real favourite of mine. They're so versatile, and I use them in so many different dishes: from Italian pastas and Indian curries, to Middle Eastern recipes and even schnitzel. Here, they're slowly roasted until their flesh is soft, and their naturally smoky flavour has intensified.

SERVES:
4

Ingredients

4 aubergines

2 tbsp olive oil

Few pinches ground cumin or chilli flakes (optional)

1 portion of my Tahini sauce

1 pomegranate

1 tbsp zatar

1 tbsp sumac

1 tbsp sesame seeds – black, yellow or both

A small handful of fresh herbs, such as mint, coriander, parsley, or a mixture

Handful toasted walnuts (optional)

Green salad leaves – I like watercress here

4-6 wholemeal pitta or flatbreads

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4.
  2. Prepare your aubergines by cutting them in half lengthways, keeping the stalks intact. Score the aubergine flesh in a crisscross, being careful not to cut all the way through.
  3. Place the eight pieces in large ovenproof dish, flesh side up. Brush with the olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper. I often sprinkle on a little ground cumin or some chilli flakes at this stage, and sometimes some finely chopped garlic – but they're just as delicious plain.
  4. Bake in the oven for about 45-60 minutes, until the flesh is very soft. If they look like they're charring too much, or drying out, turn the heat down to 160°C/fan 140°C/Gas 3, or cover with foil.
  5. While the aubergines are cooking, whip up a batch of Tahini Sauce.
  6. Cut your pomegranate in half and remove the seeds by holding it in your hand, seeds-side down, over a bowl, and hitting the back with a wooden spoon. Repeat with the other half and set aside.
  7. Once the aubergines are ready, place them on a large serving platter and drizzle with the tahini sauce. Sprinkle over the zatar, sumac, sesame seeds and pomegranate seeds. Arrange the fresh herbs on top – toasted walnuts are also a nice addition, if you like.
  8. Serve with the salad leaves and warm pitta or flatbreads.

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