I always associate smoked aubergine with the East. Most Middle Eastern nations seem to have a version of them, and the roots of many of these recipes relate to the world’s most simple and primitive cooking technique – food plus fire, which as we all know equals nothing short of magic. From meat to every kind of vegetable and even some fruits, very few edibles aren’t somehow improved by the kiss of fire, and aubergine is definitely my favourite.
4 large aubergines
3 large red peppers
50g chopped walnuts
1 small packet (about 30g) of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped (reserve some for garnish)
2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
6 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to serve
juice of ½ lemon
pinch of ground cinnamon
75ml pomegranate molasses
100g pomegranate seeds
Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper flatbread, to serve
Blister and char the aubergines and peppers, either on a barbecue, flame grill or on the flame of your gas hob. Really blacken the skins until they are hardened and completely burnt. (Lining your hob with kitchen foil will prevent you having to deal with a very heavy clean-up, as the juices can be messy.)
Place the aubergines on a heatproof surface or tray and leave to cool for about 20 minutes, until they are just warm and you are able to handle them.
Place the peppers in a food bag, tie it closed and set aside to allow them to sweat for about 20 minutes. Once this time has elapsed, the blackened, charred skins should slide easily off the peppers until you are left with just the roasted flesh. Roughly chop the flesh and place in a large mixing bowl.
Using a large metal spoon, scoop out the flesh of the aubergines and place it in a fine-mesh sieve to drain off any of the excess juices. Discard the charred skins. Roughly chop the flesh into smallish chunks and add them to the roasted peppers. Mix together gently.
Add the walnuts, parsley, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt and pepper to the bowl, and give all the ingredients a good mix until they are evenly combined.
Serve the aubergine smoothed out flat on a large platter. Drizzle with the pomegranate molasses, scatter over the reserved parsley and the pomegranate seeds, then add a light drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately with flatbreads.
This recipe is from Bazaar: Vibrant vegetarian and plant-based recipes, The Sunday Times bestseller by Sabrina Ghayour