Sunday (Roasted Aubergines)

Today has been a relaxed one, and I spent most of it making an aubergine thing from my new Ottolenghi cook book (Nopi).

I had to adapt the recipe slightly as some of the ingredients were rather niche, and the portions rather large. This was originally intended as a starter, but I thought that it made a pretty good summer main dish.

Here is what I did, although you can find the original Ottolenghi recipe in his Nopi book, and you can find a few recipes online for other dishes. 

Aubergine Ingredients:
2 medium aubergines
Olive Oil - 100ml (or a little less)
Pepper - as much as you like
Salt (rough sea salt is best) - about 1/2 a tablespoon

Dressing Ingredients:
Harissa spice - 1 teaspoon
Olive Oil - 25ml
Lemon juice - 1 teaspoon
Golden syrup - a blob (maybe around 1/2 a teaspoon to a teaspoon full)
Treacle - a tiny blob (maybe around 1/4 or 1/2 a teaspoon)
Chilli powder - a large pinch
Cocoa powder - 1/2 a teaspoon
Garlic (roasted) - around 20g

Finishing Touch Ingredients:
Natural Yohurt (Greek Yoghurt or similar) - around 2-3 tablespoons per person
Pine nuts - enough to sprinkle on
Basil (fresh if poss) - for topping

1. Peheat the oven to 200C (the same for fan oven).
Chop the aubergines (the original recipe said they should be around 3cm wide and 10cm long, but I think mine were slightly smaller).
Mix the olive oil, salt and pepper.
On a plate, cover the aubergines in the olive oil/salt/pepper mix (a mix of drizzling it over / dipping and massaging it in), before putting them on a lined baking tray (or two!) with the skins facing downward.

2. Roast for around 40mins in the oven

3. Let them cool, and meanwhile make the dressing.

4. Put all the dressing ingredients in a mixing bowl.
The original recipe suggested black garlic, which is essentially a specially roasted garlic which - Ottolenghi says - tastes more mellow / treacle-y / liquorice-y. So, in the absence of black garlic, I decided to take away the sharpness of the raw garlic by heating the unpeeled cloves in a pan until they were almost about to burn. I let them cool and added them to the mix.
Blend all together.
If you have a food processor - then perfect! However, I don't. So I used the blendy stick thing that my mum uses for soups and it worked quite well.
Any sort of blending implement should do.
You want the dressing to be like a liquid-y paste thing with as small bits as possible.

5. Once the aubergines have cooled, put them in a bowl and mix in the garlic dressing.
Carefully make sure each aubergine is covered, but without letting the slices completely disintegrate. Let them sit / soak up the dressing for an hour (if you have time). I preferred using my bare hands for this.

6. Once the aubergines have been "marinated", put around 3 tablespoons (or less) of natural yoghurt in each persons bowl, and arrange the soaked aubergines on top. Sprinkle over some basil leaves and pine nuts, and drizzle more olive oil over the top if you feel like it. You can put the leftover dressing in a pretty bowl and people can add extra to their dish later if they wish.

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