Grilled eggplant with tahini and yoghurt dressing

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Eggplants get a bit of a hard time. True, they're not particularly forgiving - an undercooked eggplant has about as much charm as a raw potato - but handled well, they are incredibly versatile and one of my favourite vegetables. This eggplant salad is great with barbecued meat or poultry, especially if there's a nice char on the flesh. It marries well with marinades or dressings with Middle Eastern flavours.

Purple heart: Grilled eggplant with tahini and yoghurt dressing, pomegranate, chilli and mint.
Purple heart: Grilled eggplant with tahini and yoghurt dressing, pomegranate, chilli and mint. Photo: Marina Oliphant

Ingredients

4 large eggplants

Salt flakes

Extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 cloves garlic

2 tbsp tahini

300g plain yoghurt

1 lemon, juiced

¼ bunch mint, picked

1 green chilli, sliced into rings

1 red chilli, sliced into rings

½ fresh pomegranate

Method

1. Preheat a grill pan or barbecue.

2. Cut the eggplant into 1½-2cm-thick slices lengthways, season and brush with oil. Grill for a few minutes on each side then lie flat to cool. The eggplant should be just cooked but still holding its shape.

3. In a mortar and pestle, grind the cumin seeds coarsely. Add two good pinches of salt and briefly grind together. Grate the garlic on a Microplane and add to the cumin. Add the tahini, yoghurt and lemon juice, mix well.

4. Lie the eggplant on a serving dish. Spoon the dressing over, then scatter over the mint, chillies and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.

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  • Main Ingredients - Eggplant, Yoghurt, Lemon
  • Cuisine - Middle Eastern
  • Course - Side Dish
  • Occasion - Barbecue, Family meals, Dinner Party

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