Burnt Aubergine and Tahini Dip… a sunshine holiday with every mouthful.
Aubergine or Eggplant? We’re not fussed… it’s the same thing. Priya’s a Brit, so we’re going to be calling them “Aubergines” on this site… so, if you’re one of our friends from the other side of the Atlantic, or a speaker of American English somewhere else in the world, then not only will you enjoy reading this super yummy recipe… but you can also delight in our foreign vocabulary… Aubergine. Au-ber-gine. Oooooh… Exotic, aren’t we?
Anyway, this dip is guaranteed to wow, dazzle and impress anyone you serve it to… it is a version of a Middle Eastern dish commonly known as “Baba Ghanouj/Ghanoush.” This is full to the brim with well rounded, earthy flavours and has a beautiful, smoked taste to it because of how the aubergine is prepared. If you combine your mind with your mouth, then every bite will be full of sunshine. Trust us. It’s true.
This dish ticks so many boxes in terms of all sorts of dietary preferences. Vegetarian/Vegan? Tick. Wheat free? Tick. Gluten Free and Dairy Free? Yes… Tick. Tick! Although Tahini isn’t strictly Paleo/Primal, please don’t call the Paleo Police — we do understand that it is a well accepted cheat addition to Paleo diets because of the health benefits of it. This is also totally nutrient dense because everything in it is a powerhouse in it’s own right — a wonderful marriage of goodness. Click on the ingredients below in bold and you’ll be taken to our Geek-A-Licious page to get the nutritional low down on all of them.
For the eagle eyed amongst you, the pomegranate molasses used in this, might initially be thought of as sugary naughtiness but they actually deliver many of the same nutritional benefits as regular pomegranate — which many of us already know is often referred to as a “Superfood.” (This basically means that if it were a person, it would wear it’s underwear on the outside and would wear a cape with an “S” on it… a proper little Superhero.) If you are diabetic then please leave this ingredient out or just use a very little amount of it to keep your sugar levels in check (same applies to anyone watching their GI/GL numbers.)
Again, as with many of our dishes, this is one where, once you have made it a couple of times, you can really adjust the quantities of everything so that they become balanced to your personal preferences. Once made, feel free to use it as a dip surrounded by fresh, crisp veggies to dunk into it, or even pieces of warm, pitta style bread. Alternatively… vegans/vegetarians look away now… this is great as an accompaniment to some good, organic meat (it works superbly well with lamb and duck.)
What you need (to serve approx. 4 people depending on how you’re using it)
- A large, washed Aubergine
- Tahini paste (around 2 tablespoons)
- The juice from one, unwaxed Lemon
- Crushed Garlic Cloves (2 big cloves)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (around 2 tablespoons)
- Salt to season with (go light on this and use a “good” one!)
- Pomegranate Molasses (1 – 2 tablespoons)
- Chopped Parsley (1-2 tablespoons)
- Optional Garnishes- Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Pomegranate seeds.
How to make it:
The star of the show is the aubergine which you want to cook through and also burn the skin of. Prick the aubergine a few times with a fork — because you really don’t want an aubergine explosion (unless you are some kind of deranged, kitchen daredevil!) If you have a gas cooker or stove, then a fast way to do the aubergine is to hold it in tongs and cook it directly over the flame — be careful though because it is hot – duh! If you use this method, line your cooker top with foil at the start because the aubergine makes quite a mess when the juices leak out during cooking. The foil means you can just lift it all off at the end and cleaning will be minimal. The less time you spend cleaning, the more time you can spend eating! Hurrah Hurrah!
If you value your eyelashes and don’t fancy being that close to an open flame, then just pre-heat your grill to Medium and grill the aubergine for around 20 minutes, turning it a few times while it is cooking. The skin will start burning which is exactly what you want to happen because it is this that will infuse the whole dish with its distinctive, smokey depth. You can check that the aubergine is cooked by pushing a knife through it gently and making sure it glides through with no resistance. Let the aubergine cool (either completely or just until it is cool enough to handle.)
In a bowl, mix the parsley, crushed garlic cloves, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil and pomegranate molasses. Cut the aubergine in half, scoop out the flesh only (you are not using the burnt skin as all the smokey flavour will have gone into the flesh by now) and mush it/blend it into the other mixed ingredients. You can do this with or without a blender. It is entirely up to you if you want to have the consistency really smooth or a bit more rough and ready (in which case you must refer to it as “rustic” as all good food snobs do)… either way it will be utterly delicious.
If you make the dip when the aubergine is still slightly warm, then let the whole lot come to room temperature (which is how it is served) and then taste it to season it with the salt so that you don’t end up using too much. Once seasoned, scatter it with some chopped, fresh parsley, drizzle with olive oil and, if you’re really out to impress, throw on some pomegranate seeds as well for a final flourish. It will look amazing and no one needs know it was so easy to make. Our little secret.
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