Roasted Aubergine with Spinach and Pine Nuts

spicy and tasty aubergine, spinach and pine-nut

This aubergine dish works well as an accompaniment to so many things. The meltingly tender and silky texture of the flesh is superb combined with a subtly spiced roast lamb or hearty and robust tagine. In it’s own right can be stirred through some freshly made cous-cous or roughly thrown together salad (butter beans, feta and mint ) or just simply enjoyed on it’s own merit, nestled up to some rustic bread.

I have always loved aubergines and their sponge-like ability to absorb flavour and juiciness like nothing else. When included in a little family together with olive oil, garlic, chilli, fennel and coriander seed, pine nuts, baby spinach and pomegranate molasses becomes a well rounded, interestingly textured and delicately spiced delight.

INGREDIENTS (for 6)

2 large aubergines
healthy amount of EV olive oil
6-8 cloves of coarsely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 desert spoons of pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon coriander seeds – lightly crushed
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds – lightly crushed
2 teaspoons mint sauce
small handful of toasted pine nuts
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 150 degrees.
Chop aubergines across their length into 3/4 inch disks, then while stacked up chop again down their lengths at 90 degrees to first cut so effectively ending up with fat aubergine length chips. Chop the chips on the diagonal to end up with large diamond chunks. In a roasting tin heat up a big long glug of olive oil on the hob and add the aubergine and mix well into the oil. Turn up the heat to get it smoking and as the aubergine starts to cook and brown add more olive oil as you go and continue stirring and mixing until it all starts to soften. You would do well to turn down the heat now and allow the sticky edges to form a little. Add the salt, pepper, chilli, crushed seeds, mint sauce and pomegranate molasses and stir well into veg. Add garlic, stir then put in oven for around 30 – 40 mins. After this time the aubergine should be soft, silky and smooth. Add the pine nuts and baby spinach and stir into mix and return to oven for a further 10 on a lower heat to warm through. (Matt)

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