How comforting is a dish of eggplant, roasted in thick slices, with chickpeas and cumin, toasted, and a drizzle of minty yoghurt sauce. How satisfying. The eggplant is darkly roasted but achingly tender, the chickpeas are mixed with lemon flesh for an enlivening tang, and the yoghurt adds a light freshness to the dish.
Of course, this dish is an Ottolenghi recipe – did you notice his signatures? It is from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.
It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s 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.
Browse our Dips and our Spreads, and our Eggplant recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.
Roasted Eggplant with Crushed Chickpeas and Herb Yoghurt
3 large eggplants, cut crosswise into slices 2-cm thick
120 ml olive oil
240 g soft cooked chickpeas, plus some of their cooking liquid
1.5 tspn cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
1 small lemon, rind, pith, and seeds removed, flesh coarsely chopped
100 g Greek yoghurt
10 g mint, coarsely chopped
10 g flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 250 C.
Place the eggplants in a large bowl with 60 ml of the oil, salt to taste, and a good grind of black pepper. Mix well, then spread out in a single layer on one or two baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Remove and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, put the chickpeas in a bowl with the cumin seeds, lemon flesh, 3 Tblspn of the oil, 2 Tblspn of the cooking liquid, a little salt and a good grind of black pepper. Mash roughly using a fork, spoon or potato masher, adding a bit more of the cooking liquid if needed to get a thick, spreadable, coarse paste.
Place the yoghurt in the bowl of a small food processor along with the remaining 1 Tblspn olive oil, 2 Tblspn water, the herbs, pinch salt and some black pepper. Blitz until well combined. You need to be able to drizzle the yoghurt, so add a tablespoon or two of water or oil if you need to.
To arrange, spread the eggplant slices out on a platter or individual plates. Spoon the crushed chickpeas on top, followed by a drizzle of the yoghurt and serve.
recipe notes and alternatives
If cooking with dried chickpeas start with 100g to yield 240g of cooked chickpeas, and make sure you boil them to the stage when they just start to fall apart. If using canned, cook them in their liquid, plus some extra water, for about 30 minutes.
Placing a tray of water at the bottom of the oven (especially if it is electric) to give out steam and prevent the eggplants from drying out.
Ottolenghi suggests an alternative topping of slow cooked red pepper and tomato sauce with vinegar and smoky paprika. If you want to make this as an alternative to the yoghurt do this: Saute some chopped onion, garlic and red pepper in plenty of olive oil for a good 30 mins, add chopped tomatoes and cook slowly for another hour, adding some sherry vinegar and smoked paprika towards the end of cooking. Leave to cool before using.
I have slightly reduced the amount of parsley from the original recipe – add more if you adore herby yoghurt sauces.