Smokey aubergine with tomatoes, pickled onion, parsley and pomegranate molasses

Smokey aubergine with tomatoes, pickled onion, parsley and pomegranate molasses

By
From
Cut the Carbs!
Serves
4

This dish transports me straight to Zübeyir Ocakbaşi, a historic terrace in Istanbul, on a side street near the main shopping boulevard of Istiklal Caddesi. You can smell the restaurant before you see it, as most of the food is grilled over coals in the centre of the downstairs dining room. This side is a slightly more refined version of their ‘Special Aubergine Salad’. Here it’s accented with the crunch of walnuts and sweetness of softened onions. Over time I’ve discovered the best way to get the soft texture and smokey aroma in the aubergine is to place it whole, directly over a gas burner, occasionally turning it until the skin is withered and the insides are as pulpy as an over ripe piece of fruit. I like to eat this with simple charred meat or offal (in Istanbul we had skewers of liver, which were sublime) and perhaps the Cauliflower ‘Couscous’ with Almonds, Currants and Mint as part of a wider mezze or barbecue feast for a group.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 red onion, peeled and cut into half-moons, as slim as you can manage
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 large aubergines
2 tablespoons olive oil
5cm lump of ginger root, peeled and grated
1 brown onion, peeled and cut into slim half-moons
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons water
2 roma tomatoes, diced
small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
50g walnuts, roughly chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
labneh, feta, soft eggs or grilled lamb, (optional)

Method

  1. Place half of the red onion in a bowl with the salt and vinegar. Leave the onion to steep for 15–30 minutes until it has begun to turn translucent and the raw taste has softened.
  2. Using tongs or similar, carefully hold an aubergine directly over a gas burner. Allow it to char for 5 minutes on each side, until the skin is black and puckered and the insides feel pulpy and soft. Transfer it to a bowl and cover the bowl with clingfilm. Repeat the with the other aubergine and add it to the bowl, too.
  3. Leave the charred aubergines to sit and steam under the clingfilm for 10–15 minutes while you get started on the rest of the sauce.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or wok and add the ginger, brown onion and the remaining, raw red onion. Sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions have softened. Add the pomegranate molasses and water and sauté for another 5–10 minutes until you have a soft, pliable tangle of onions.
  5. Remove the aubergines from the bowl, peel off the charred skins and discard them. Roughly chop the softened, smoked flesh and combine it with the onions in the pan to warm it through. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Top the warm mixture with the tomatoes, pickled and drained red onion, parsley and walnuts. Serve either warm or at room temperature, with labneh, feta, soft eggs or grilled lamb, if you like.
Tags:
healthy
low carb
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