When friends come over for a drink, I like to serve a something to nibble on. It is a bit of a Continental habit from years spent abroad – this can be as simple as cheese or nuts, but if I’m feeling creative, this can range all the way up to savoury pastries or a selection of dips.
I had two large aubergines from the local Turkish shop looking somewhat forlorn in the kitchen and some friends on the way over, so baba ghanoush was the obvious answer! This is a smoked aubergine dip from the Middle East, which is both luxurious and easy to make.
HOW TO MAKE IT
• 2 aubergines
• 3 tablespoons tahini
• 1 tablespoon mild vinegar or lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon yoghurt
• salt, to taste
• olive oil, to drizzle
• pomegranate seeds (optional)
Pierce the skin of the aubergines all over with a sharp knife. Burn the outsides of each aubergine over a flame or under a very hot grill. We want the “burnt” flavour to get into the flesh, so don’t be scared of getting them good and black.
Once the outside is charred, put the aubergines in a hot oven for 25 minutes at 200 degrees. Once cooked, place in a plastic bag or a sealed container, and allow to cool to room temperature.
Next, cut the aubergines open, scoop the flesh into a bowl (leaving behind the skin!) and add the tahini, vinegar/lemon (according to preference), yoghurt and salt and mix well. Leave overnight in the fridge to thicken and allow the flavours to develop.
Serve at room temperature with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. Accompany with toasted bread.
WOULD I MAKE IT AGAIN?
Yes. This is a breeze to make, provided you can be organised. The one niggle is that it really is best done the day before, but this is something I would happily make on a Friday and eat over the weekend. I’ve also done it same day, and it still tastes really good.