Lacking in inspiration one night last week I made a plea on Twitter for aubergine recipe ideas. Several people came up with suggestions (thanks!), a couple of which were Middle Eastern in style which whet my appetite and got me thinking. I wasn't really in the mood for following a proper recipe, so made it up as I went along.
Sometimes I do this and get it wrong, ending up with something that's usually edible but either very dull or interesting but ill-advised. Sometimes I do this and get it right, ending up with something surprisingly tasty and well worth repeating. This was very much in the latter camp, so I thought I'd share.
Smoky charred aubergine and cumin contrasts well with creamy, tart yoghurt and the sweetness of the peppers. The nuts add a bit of textural variety. Very nice scooped up with some sort of flatbread.
You will need, enough for two:
2 red peppers (preferably Romano, the long thin sweet ones)
extra virgin olive oil
Coriander, about 1/2 a tbsp, chopped
about 150ml thick greek yoghurt
half a lemon
1 tsp cumin seeds
a few cashew nuts
pinch chilli flakes
bread to serve
What to do:
1. Slice the aubergine into thick slices and the pepper into long strips. Put them into a grill pan, drizzle over a generous amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Grill the aubergine and peppers under a medium-hot grill, turning half way through until they are soft with slightly blackened edges.
3. While the veg is grilling, coarsely chop the nuts and toast them in a dry frying pan with the cumin seeds, the chilli flakes and a generous pinch of coarse salt. Toast until fragrant and just starting to brown without burning.
4. Chop the coriander, and stir the lemon juice into the yoghurt.
5. Plate up the aubergine and peppers, sprinkle over the coriander then top with the yoghurt then the toasted nut and spice mixture.
6. Drizzle over some olive oil, then serve immediately with some bread, ideally warm pitta.