December 6, 2011

Roasted Aubergine with Saffron Yogurt

This was not an easy dish to photograph.  My admiration to the food stylists who can make unwieldy chunks of fruit look palatable.  I actually decided to reshoot this a second time since I wasn't happy with the ones I did the previous day, which wasn't a pain at all since I got to eat and enjoy the salad again.

The geniuses at Ottolenghi have included some creative recipes in their cookbook, especially their salads.  I made a fennel, feta, and blood orange salad inspired by one of their recipes earlier this year, and this salad is just as bold in flavor.  Who would've thought that eggplants, pomegranates, and basil would equal magic?  The eggplant develops a rich, complex flavor whilst roasting that goes well with the garlicky yogurt and the explosions of sweet/tart from the pomegranate seeds.  The original recipe actually includes pine nuts, but I've decided to omit them because let's be honest: who can afford them these days?

Roasted Aubergine with Saffron Yogurtfrom Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Ottolenghi

3 medium aubergines, sliced 2cm thick or cut into wedges
olive oil
salt and pepper

handful of pomegranate seeds
basil leaves

Saffron Yogurt:
small pinch of saffron strands
3 tablespoons hot water
180g Greek yogurt (a generous cup)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

Infuse the saffron in the hot water for five minutes, then combine with the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.  Mix well and season with salt to taste.  Chill.

Brush the aubergine generously with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.  Roast for 20-35 minutes until soft and golden brown.  Cool.

Serve aubergine with pomegranate seeds, basil, and saffron yogurt.

*Note:  Yogurt and roasted aubergine will keep well in the fridge for up to three days.  Let aubergine come to room temperature before serving.

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