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Author Notes: Silky roasted aubergines, sticky sweet dates, crunchy pomegranate seeds, creamy yoghurt and toasted nuts come together in this simple side dish that looks just as good as it tastes.
The sauce benefits from being made ahead as the flavours develop if left to sit for a few hours or overnight. Let the sauce come to room temperature before serving. —Olivia Williamson
Serves 4-6 as a side
For the sauce:
- 200 grams natural yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sumac
- 2 teaspoons runny honey
- 1/4 lemon, juice only
- a generous pinch of salt
For the aubergines:
- 3 large aubergines
- Approx. 80 milliliters olive oil
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 3 pinches flakey sea salt
- cracked black pepper, for seasoning
- 80 grams pomegranate seeds
- 6 large, sticky dates, pitted and chopped roughly (Medjool are best. If you only have small dates, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes to soften and use a few more)
- 3 pine nuts, toasted
- 3 sprigs mint, leaves only (basil and parsley are also nice)
- a drizzle of argan oil, optional
- Mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce. Taste for salt. The sauce benefits from being made ahead as the flavours develop if left to sit for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. Let the sauce come to room temperature before serving.
- Pre-heat the oven to 190oC (fan oven).
- Slice the aubergines in half lengthways, keeping the stalks intact. Score the flesh of the aubergines into a diamond pattern with a sharp knife, being careful not to cut too deep through the skin.
- Place the aubergines, cut side up, onto a baking tray then drizzle the olive oil over them. Sprinkle over the cumin and season well with salt and pepper. Put the aubergines in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden and completely soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Serve the aubergines slightly warm or at room temperature with the sauce spooned over the top and sprinkled with the pomegranate, dates, pine nuts and herbs. Drizzle a touch of argan oil on top if you wish.
- This is a nice as part of a mezze with other salads or as a side to roast chicken or lamb. If you are eating this as a light, vegetarian main course, serve two halves on top of a bed of herby bulgur wheat or couscous.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Dates