Roast aubergine with pistachio dukkah
This dish is a lightweight lunch option bursting with flavour and texture.
We have a simple rule when it comes to cooking aubergine. When you think it’s done, cook it some more! Don’t let its soft texture fool you, this vegetable is durable and can handle the heat. Thinly sliced and pan-fried or oven-roasted it benefits from plenty of high heat and time.
2 small–medium aubergines, halved lengthways, flesh scored in a criss-cross pattern
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
30g (1 oz) feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Seeds from 1 pomegranate (see method page 87)
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, to serve
1 handful mint, leaves picked, to serve (optional)
For the pistachio dukkah:
2 tablespoons pistachio nuts
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).
Lay the aubergines cut sides up on a baking tray. Drizzle the eggplant flesh with the olive oil. Transfer to the oven and roast for 35–45 minutes until softened and golden.
To make the pistachio dukkah, heat a frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the pistachios, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and cumin seeds, and toast for 1–2 minutes until lightly golden and fragrant. Add the paprika, if using, then tip into a small food processor, or use a mortar and pestle, and crush until coarsely ground.
Remove the aubergine from the oven and divide among four plates. Spoon some dukkah over each. Top with feta, if using. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds, drizzle with the pomegranate molasses, scatter over the mint leaves, if using, and serve.
Nutrition tip: Aubergine acts like a sponge and sucks up oil. If you want to limit your oil consumption, oven-roasting is a better option rather than pan-frying.
Try this: You can use any crumbly fresh cheese instead of feta. Kalamata olives are also a good substitute as they provide a similar fresh, salty flavour. You could also substitute pomegranates for dried cranberries at another time of year.
Credit: Quick. Easy. Healthy. by Callum Hann and Themis Chryssidis (Murdoch Books, £15.99). Photography by Alan Benson.