Sometimes I feel like the aubergine is underappreciated. It gets a nonchalant shrug, spurned from our kitchen tables and bypassed on restaurant menus. But I think we should give the poor old aubergine another chance, really if you think about it, what’s not to love? Juicy and meaty with a sweet caramelised crispy outside, it’s a perfect vessel for big flavoured dressings and sauces. Brushing with a small amount of oil and roasting in the oven results in a wonderfully luscious aubergine, a far cry from its slimy oil-sponge alterego. It’s had a tough rap in the past, but when done right the humble aubergine is a rewarding and succulent treat. Together with this flavoursome tahini dressing makes for a riot on the senses, rich in creamy sesame (tahini), with refreshing coriander and sweet hits of dried cranberry that sink into the crevices of the plump roast aubergine, ready to be spooned from it’s skin and devoured greedily.
The aubergines glossy purple hue is due to it’s high content of anthrocyanins, antioxidants that are particularly heart healthy and help your body to maintain a healthy blood pressure. The darker the colour, the higher the concentration of this particular class of flavonoids. An excellent source of fibre, as well as vitamin B1, B6 and potassium, aubergines are also low in calories. Pick ones with firm flesh, and bright looking stalks for the best flavour, they taste especially good when they’re in season around July and September.
Roasted aubergine with tahini, coriander and cranberry dressing
2 small-medium aubergines
3 tbsp tahini (ground sesame paste)
2 tbsp and 1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup water
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp red onion, chopped finely
¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup dried cranberries, chopped
½ tsp honey
salt and pepper
Turn the oven to 200 Celsius. Remove the stalk from the aubergines, and cut in half lengthways. Score the white seeded flesh in a crisscross pattern without piercing through the skin. Brush the flesh with canola oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 45 minutes until crisp and turning brown on the outside, and soft and juicy on the inside. Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients together, and add salt and pepper to taste. When the aubergines are ready, pour the dressing on top and serve straightaway, or later at room temperature.
What do you think about aubergine? I’d love to hear your comments!