Thomasina Miers’ recipe for roast and whipped aubergine with chilli and mint dressing

Lifestyle

Aubergine roasted, whipped and dressed in a zippy vinaigrette makes a memorable, meze-style centrepiece

Serving ingredients cooked in several ways might be reminiscent of chi-chi noughties menus, but for the eco-aware home cook, it’s an approach that makes good sense. Seasonal veg is cheaper, tastes better and uses shorter, more carbon-friendly supply chains. What’s more, when there is an ingredient glut, it’s fun to experiment with different ways of preparing it – even more so on the same plate. In this case, aubergines are both roasted and whipped, then served with a piquant dressing and flatbreads.

Roast whipped aubergine with chilli and mint dressing
The rich, garlicky puree gives body to the roast aubergine, and the light dressing cuts through the richness.

Prep 15 min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4

1kg (roughly 3-4) aubergines
7 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 tsp runny honey
1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp tahini
Juice of ½ lemon
400g spinach
Greek yoghurt, to serve
Flatbreads, to serve

For the dressing
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
10 mint leaves, roughly chopped, plus a small handful to decorate
½ small red onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp red-wine vinegar

Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7, and line an oven tray with greaseproof paper.

Top and tail the aubergines, and cut each lengthways into six to eight long wedges about 3cm wide. Put these on the tray, drizzle with the oil and toss to coat all over. Season, arrange the wedges skin side down and roast for 35-45 minutes, or until the edges are dark golden and crisp, and the flesh is tender.

While the aubergines are cooking, make the dressing. Put all the ingredients into a small bowl, season with a little salt, whisk and leave the onion to soften in the vinegar.

Wash the spinach, heat one tablespoon of oil in a hot pan, add the spinach and cook for four to five minutes, until wilted. Set aside.

Using a food processor or stick blender, blitz the garlic, tahini, lemon juice and three tablespoons of olive oil together for a minute. Add half the cooked aubergine (use the least attractive pieces) to the tahini mix, along with one to two tablespoons of water, and blitz again to a dark, flecked puree. Season to taste. Drizzle the remaining aubergine with the honey.

Spoon the warm puree on to hot plates and top with some spinach. Arrange the aubergine wedges on top and spoon over the dressing. Rip over a few mint leaves and serve with dollops of yoghurt and flatbreads to scoop with.

And for the rest of the week …
If you have bigger appetites, pair this with some steamed maftoul (giant couscous) tossed in more chopped mint, a little olive oil, crushed garlic and seasoning. Consider making your own flatbreads – they’re very easy and delicious.