There is a marriage made in heaven, and that is eggplant and tahini. Oh, goodness, how magic happens with that combination. There are a quadzillion recipes that feature that specific combination, and it is no wonder. We have quite a few on this site too. They tend to be Middle Eastern in origin, or in style.
This recipe is no exception – it is Middle Eastern, it is magic, and it is delicious. The combination features pomegranate molasses, and the usual garlic and lemon juice. You will adore it.
It is an Ottolenghi treasure, from his book Plenty. We have a small project at the moment, to cook from his books, and currently we are cooking from Plenty More but not ignoring his other books altogether. I have to say, this is one of his simpler recipes, easy to make without too many processes. It can be made in just a few minutes after the eggplant is charred. This contrasts with the Persian Noodle dish we made yesterday, which contains 7 different processes and 5 different elements. Its a pleasure to cook such a simple dish after that one!
It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
Similar recipes include Eggplant with Coriander, Marinated Eggplant with Tahini and Oregano, Roasted Eggplant with Chickpeas and Herb Yoghurt, Quince Molasses and Tahini Dip, Burnt Spring Onion Dip with Chilli-Garlic Kale, Babaganoush, Persian Style Eggplant, and Begun Pora.
Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate
1 large aubergine
70g tahini paste
2 tspn pomegranate molasses
1 Tblspn lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 Tblspn chopped parsley
3 mini cucumbers (180g in total, optional)
90g cherry tomatoes (optional)
seeds from ½ large pomegranate (90g) or use soft dried barberries or cranberries
a little olive oil to finish
salt and black pepper
Roast/Char the eggplant on the gas flame on the stove top, under a grill, in a hot oven or (my favourite method) in the covered BBQ. Smoke the eggplant too, if you so desire – instructions for using your covered BBQ to smoke food can be found in this post.
When the aubergine is charred all over and the flesh is soft, remove and cool, then remove the blackened skin. Chop the flesh roughly and transfer to a medium bowl.
Add the tahini, water, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and some salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
Taste, and adjust the flavours, adding seasoning, garlic, lemon or molasses if needed. You want the dish to have a robust sour and slightly sweet flavour.
If you wish, add halved cherry tomatoes and cubed cucumber (remove the seeds). Mix them in.
Transfer to a shallow disk to serve, and scatter pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of oil over the top. Soft dried barberries or cranberries can be used in place of pomegranate seeds.