with Pumpkin Seeds, Pine Nuts, Pomegranate & Yogurt Dressing (Serves 6-8)
For Middle Eastern people, the aubergine is a diet staple. While we don’t really embrace it as a salad item in the West, I think it makes a wonderful salad ingredient, whether it is grilled, fried, preserved or – in this case – roasted. Roasting aubergines in the oven is a healthier way of cooking as it uses less oil than frying and allows you to celebrate the flavour in a concentrated form. I can happily eat this dish on its own, on my own, but it’s a great one for sharing as it’s a real crowd-pleaser.
3–4 large aubergines, cut into wedges (ensure the skin sides are 5cm wide)
100–150ml olive oil
5 teaspoons cumin seeds
6 tablespoons Greek-style yogurt
4–5 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
75g toasted pine nuts
50g pumpkin seeds
small packet (about 15g) of fresh coriander, leaves and stems finely chopped
100g pomegranate seeds
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 220°C, Gas Mark 7. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Using a pastry brush, brush the exposed flesh sides of each aubergine wedge with a good amount of olive oil. Arrange the wedges, skin-sides down, on the prepared baking tray, then sprinkle liberally with the cumin seeds, ensuring some seeds land on the exposed flesh of the wedges. Roast for 45–60 minutes or until the aubergine wedges are golden brown, with dark, burnished edges. Arrange the wedges on a large, flat platter and season well with salt and pepper.
Give the yogurt a good seasoning of salt and pepper and dilute it with a little water if it is too thick to drizzle. Drizzle the yogurt over the aubergines, followed by the pomegranate molasses. Sprinkle liberally with the toasted pine nuts and pumpkin seeds, followed by the chopped coriander. Lastly, sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds and serve immediately. If you have leftovers, they are great eaten the next day, served at room temperature.