Our roasted aubergines with pistachio cream are meltingly soft and make the perfect Spring starter with the edible flowers and mint green sauce. Aubergines love to soak up flavours and oils so it’s always best to start moderately with seasonings and add more later. Blitz any leftovers the next day and serve with hot pitta breads for a quick dip.
Is it true you have to salt aubergines before cooking them?No. In the past, recipes called for aubergines to be sliced and salted before cooking to reduce their bitterness. But modern varieties are much less bitter and especially the smaller ones so that’s no longer necessary. In many Turkish and Middle Eastern dishes, aubergines end up being sliced then fried. In this case, it is useful to generously salt the slices first and leave for a while before rinsing then cooking. It helps the fruits to stop absorbing too much oil.
What health conditions are aubergines good for?Aubergines are an excellent source of dietary fibre, vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium. Their red-blue pigment, called anthocyanin, is a fantastic antioxidant that can help those with heart health issues to lower blood pressure. In Japan it is considered lucky to dream of an aubergine
Are aubergines more popular now that they have become an emoji?Yes! Waitrose has launched a range of white aubergines, nicknames snowbergines, and other new varieties are popping up all the time as people rush to eat more vegetables and less meat. In America, there is even a company called eggplantmail.com that lets you send a personalised aubergine to friends and family through the post.
- 150g flat leaf parsley
- 100g rocket leaves
- 100g fresh mint
- 4 thinly sliced, washed baby radish
- 1tsp dried cumin powder
- ½tsp mild chilli powder
- 2tsp olive oil plus one more for salad
- juice of half a lemon
- 3 small, but not miniature, aubergines
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 50g shelled pistachios
- 400g thick natural yoghurt
- Edible flowers to dress, nasturtiums would be lovely
Preheat the oven to 220C, Gas 7 and put a baking tray on the top shelf. Rinse then slice the aubergines lengthways. Make 1cm deep cuts on the diagonal, about 2cm apart, repeating in the opposite direction until you have a grid pattern but don’t cut all the way through. Rub the chopped garlic, chilli and olive oil well into the cuts then season and roast for 35 minutes or until browning on top.
For the pistachio cream, whizz the nuts and cumin with half the mint leaves and all the yoghurt in a food processor. Stop and start to leave some crunch, you don’t want a smooth paste. When serving, add some salt flakes on top.
Mix the salad leaves, radish and leftover mint leaves with a light dressing of olive oil and the lemon. Serve an aubergine half on a light bed of salad for every plate. Finish with the edible flowers, yoghurt on the side.
Top Tip for making Roasted aubergines with pistachio cream
Cover any bits that are browning too quickly with torn baking foil