Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Baked Aubergine with Saffron Yoghurt Sauce & Pomegranate

Baked Aubergine with Saffron Yoghurt Sauce & Pomegranate 

A couple of weeks ago, I promised to tell you a bit more about one of my new cookbooks "Ottolenghi, The Cookbook". This book totally has the "drool factor", and if you only buy one new cookbook this year then my suggestion is that you make it this one, unless of course you plan to hang out until May when Yotam Ottolenghi releases his new book "Plenty" - yet another one to add to my wish list.

In July 2002 Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi opened Ottolenghi in small premises in Notting Hill, London.  To quote from the book ... "food shop, patisserie, deli, restaurant, bakery.  A place with no single description but at the same time a crystal-clear reflection of our obsessive relationship with food."  There are now a total of four outlets in London, and the book came into being by popular demand from regular customers.

This book is an absolute celebration of food, with an emphasis on using outstanding, fresh ingredients and preparing them in the most natural way possible, avoiding complicated techniques and fussiness.  The magic lies in bringing ingredients together in ways which are at times unexpected, but which enable each individual ingredient to shine - marriages made in heaven that don't need any tricky preparation. Vegetarians and meat lovers alike will find plenty in this book to suit their table, while a large section on baking and patisserie will appeal to those who like to bake.

I found this book both inspiring and innovative, and I find that I am turning to it several times a week.  Offerings from this book include:  "roasted butternut squash with burnt aubergine and pomegranate molasses", "cauliflower and cumin fritters with lime yoghurt", "portobello mushrooms with pearl barley and preserved lemon", "Camargue red rice and quinoa with orange and pistachios", "marinated rack of lamb with coriander and honey", "roast chicken with saffron, hazelnuts and honey", "seared duck breasts with blood orange and star anise", "grilled mackerel with green olive, celery and raisin salsa", "apple and olive oil cake with maple icing", "plum, marzipan and cinnamon muffins", "salty peanut and caramel macaroons", "white chocolate and raspberry tartlets".

Today's recipe - a salad of aubergine, pine nuts and pomegranate with a tangy saffron yoghurt dressing is typical of many in the book - easy to prepare, robust, bright and bold flavour and colour, and great texture.  This is one I will keep coming back to.

Roasted Aubergine with Saffron Yoghurt Sauce
& Pomegranate Recipe
Adapted from "Ottolenghi, The Cookbook"
Serves 2 as main meal, or 4 as a starter
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

3 medium sized aubergines
juice & seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
2 tablespoons pine nuts. toasted
large handful of basil leaves, torn
olive oil
sea salt and black pepper

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons of hot water
pinch of saffron strands
3/4 cup thick Greek yoghurt
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
sea salt

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.

Cut aubergine into thick slices or wedges.

Place in a roasting dish, drizzle with plenty of olive oil, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Roast the aubergine for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oven, and cool to room temperature.  At this stage the aubergine could be refrigerated for up to three days, and then brought back to room temperature before assembling salad and serving.

While the aubergine is cooking make the sauce.  Allow the saffron to infuse in the hot water for about 5 minutes.  Then combine with the yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and a pinch of flaky sea salt.

Whisk everything together well until you have a pale creamy yellow, smooth sauce, flecked with the saffron threads.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  Chill until ready to serve.

Sauce will keep refrigerated for several days.

To assemble, arrange the aubergine on a large platter and drizzle with the saffron yoghurt sauce.  Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds and pine nuts over the top, and lastly strew with the torn basil leaves.

Baked Aubergine with Saffron Yoghurt Sauce & Pomegranate

This would serve four people as a starter or side dish, or two people as a meal on its own.  I found that I did have sauce leftover, which I subsequently used to dress a salad of roasted beetroot, puy lentils, goats cheese and walnuts.

cookbook sundays

I've just discovered the Cookbook Sundays Group, where other people like me have shelves lined with cookbooks that just don't seem to get used so much.  The idea is to dust off the shelves, cook something from one of the books, and link it up with the book.  Since, the Ottolenghi Cookbook is probably my favourite cookbook, I thought I would revisit this recipe and share it with the group.  Please go and have a look at what everyone else is cooking up.

Get the book:

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook


  1. Thank you for the lovely comments on the Pan de Camote. I am sure your will enjoy this Peruvian take on brioche. I have looked around your blog and your recipes sound and look so appetising. I love your philosophy on food, so much so that I will subscribe to your blog. By the way, you've just made me wish I had the Ottolenghi cookbook with this recipe! Milagritos from mothertucka

  2. That cookbook sounds wonderful and that eggplant dish looks really delicious too. I love that saffron yoghurt sauce! ;-)

  3. Milagritos - thanks for stopping by, for your lovely comments, and for subscribing. I really appreciate it. I really recommend you get the Ottolenghi cookbook if you can - it is hard to find in the shops, and is presently sold out at Amazon, but there is a link in my sidebar for buying it from Fishpond if you are interested.

    Deb - thanks for visiting again - the saffron yoghurt sauce is a winner - great with lots of things, especially fish cakes I discovered.

  4. Sue, thank you so very much for the shout-out and for participating in Cookbook Sundays. I'm honoured that someone so very far away is participating. :o) I just love eggplant in any form and it sounds especially amazing with your yogurt sauce. Yum!!

  5. Thanks for visiting Brenda - I'm grateful for the opportunity to join in. The tangy yoghurt sauce with the smoky aubergine is a "killer" combo.
    Sue :-)


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