Monday, 27 April 2015

Roasted aubergine with saffron yogurt

Roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt

Something that I really enjoy when I cook is to try always new recipes, whether inspired by cookbooks, magazines, blogs or websites or developed by myself.
With the consequence that there are many recipes that I made only once, and not because they were not good or I didn't like, but just to try something different.

But despite this - good, bad, weird? - habit of mine, there are several recipes that I particularly love and regularly make. As is the case of this "roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt", a recipe from the favorite of mine "Ottolenghi The Cookbook" (probably the most consulted cookbook in my bookshelf, from which I tried many recipes, some of them also posted on this blog - for more details check here).
Apart from the fact that I like aubergine in general, and prepare it very often in several different ways, what I particularly love in this recipe is the original combination of flavors (the peculiar taste of roasted aubergine, a sour addition from yogurt, the fragrance of saffron and basil), textures (soft aubergines, creamy yogurt sauce, crunchy pine nuts and juicy pomegranate seeds) and, not less important, colors: a rainbow, in all senses. 
Roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt

A dish like this goes well for many occasions and is a perfect addition to several different menus, whether vegetarian or not. 
I like to serve it as a starter, usually along with other dishes and a variety of breads (I am a huge fan of the Middle Eastern concept of mezze).  
And I also like to make more than we will eat in one meal so to have some leftover for the day after; in fact both the roasted eggplant and the sauce keep well in the refrigerator for few days; just remember to let them come to room temperature before assembling the plate and serving.
Roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt

Roasted aubergine with saffron yogurt
adapted from "Ottolenghi- The cookbook", by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
serves  4
3 medium aubergines, cut into wedges, or into slices 2cm thick
olive oil for brushing
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
a handful of pomegranate seeds
20 basil leaves
coarse sea salt and black pepper
Saffron yogurt:
small pinch saffron threads
3 tbsp hot water
180 g Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
to taste coarse sea salt
Preheat the oven to 220° C. Place the eggplant wedges on a baking sheet, brush both sides with plenty of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 35 minutes, until the wedges take on a beautiful light brown colour.
Let them cool down. The eggplants will keep in the fridge for 3 days; just let them come to room temperature before serving.
In the meantime make the sauce: infuse the saffron in the hot water in a small bowl for 5 minutes. Pour the infusion into a bowl containing the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and some salt. Whisk well to get a smooth, golden sauce. Taste and adjust the salt, if necessary, then chill. This sauce will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To serve, arrange the eggplant wedges  on a large plate. Drizzle the saffron yogurt over them, sprinkle with the pine nuts and pomegranate seeds, and lay the basil on top.

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