Eggplant and Yoghurt is very common, even eggplant and saffron yoghurt is not unusual. Ottolenghi has his version in his first cookbook, Ottolenghi. This book is still one of my favourites, given to me as a gift when I was spending a couple of months in London. Lucky for me I was so very close to Islington, and so Ottolenghi’s became my usual haunt. This was long before anyone in Australia had heard of him. So this book brings back many joyful memories.
As usual, I feel free to massage his recipes to suit my preferences at the time and the availability of ingredients. Today I had a deep sticky sauce that I had made sitting on the kitchen bench, so the eggplant slices got smeared in this before roasting. You don’t need to do that, though. This recipe is actually very very simple to make (Yay!) and it is perfect for evening suppers. It doesn’t seem that it has appeared in the Guardian column, so you will need to check his books if you want to check the original.
Roasted Eggplant with Saffron Yoghurt
3 medium sized aubergines (eggplants) cut into 2cm slices or into wedges
olive oil for brushing
2 Tblspn pine nuts
a handful of pomegranate seeds or barberries
20 basil leaves
coarse sea salt and black pepper
a pinch of saffron threads
3 Tblspn hot water
180g Greek yoghurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
2.5 Tblspn lemon juice
3 Tblspn olive oil
To make the sauce, infuse the saffron in the hot water in a small bowl for 5 minutes. Pour the infusion into a bowl containing the yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and some salt. Whisk well to get a smooth, golden sauce. Taste and adjust the salt, if necessary, then chill. This sauce will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 220C. Place the eggplant slices on a baking sheet, brush both sides with plenty of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 35 minutes, until the slices take on a beautiful light brown colour. Let them cool down. The eggplants will keep in the fridge for 3 days; just let them come to room temperature before serving.
To serve, arrange the eggplant slices on a large plate, slightly overlapping. Drizzle the saffron yoghurt over them, sprinkle with the pine nuts and pomegranate seeds, and lay the basil on top.
recipe notes and alternatives
Ottolenghi might screw his face up at this, but this recipe can stand some variation with the eggplant. I particularly like the eggplant brushed with my Special Miso Sauce (lightly) or my new Special Dark Sticky Sauce. Divine!