If you’re not a huge fan of garlic or are planning on romantically pursuing a vampire, you might need to make some adjustments to this recipe.
This is another gem from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More cookbook and features a very interesting sounding black garlic sauce.
I say interesting sounding because I couldn’t actually find any black garlic, so I had to use the regular kind and merely imagine with wistfulness what Ottolenghi describes as the ‘taste of molasses and tamarind and unexpected depth of flavour.’
I’m determined to do some investigation and locally source some of the black variety for next time – but even with the substitution this salad was seriously packed with flavour.
Aubergines (or eggplants) are one of my favourite vegetables and it’s nice to see them take centre stage in something that isn’t a hot sauce or curry.
It’s a vibrant salad full of contrasting textures, piquant fried chilli and garlic, cooling yoghurt and fresh green herbs… Divine.
I’ve recently read a comprehensive article on the science-based benefits of the aubergine, which includes some fascinating information (such as the fact that they are 90% water). Head on over to this article by Helen Nichols at Well-Being Secrets for some further interesting reading.
aubergine & herb salad with garlic yoghurt dressing
adapted from the recipe in ‘plenty more’ by yotam ottolenghi
3 medium aubergines, sliced into 2.5cm (1 inch) thick rounds
¾ cup olive oil
8 large or 16 small black garlic cloves (alternatively use regular garlic)
1 cup greek yoghurt
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
7 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 red chillies, finely sliced on the diagonal into rounds
1 handful of dill, washed and leaves picked
1 handful of tarragon, washed and leaves picked
1 handful of basil, washed and leaves picked
Preheat your oven to 250°C (480°F) or to its highest setting.
Measure out ¼ cup of olive oil and pour in a large flat bottomed dish. Season generously with salt and pepper, then briefly dip each slice of aubergine into the oil to cover both sides (make sure you do this quickly because aubergines are like sponges, so you want to leave enough oil for each slice).
Line two large trays with baking paper and spread out the aubergine slices between them.
Roast in the oven until golden-brown and completely soft – about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Place the black garlic cloves in the small bowl of a food processor with a pinch of salt, the lemon juice and a couple of tablespoons of the yoghurt.
Blitz for a minute to form a rough paste and then transfer to a medium bowl. Mix through the rest of the yoghurt and keep in the fridge until needed.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the garlic and chilli slices, then reduce the heat to medium.
Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking, until the garlic is golden-brown and the chilli is crispy.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the garlic and chilli on to a plate lined with paper towel. Reserve the chilli oil.
When ready to serve, arrange and overlap the aubergine slices on a platter. Spoon over dollops of the yoghurt sauce and sprinkle over the fried chilli and garlic. Scatter with the fresh herbs and lightly drizzle with some of the chilli oil.