Summer days are salad days in my book. When the days are hot and long you don’t really want to be stuck in the kitchen with a hot stove. One of my all time favourites is this eggplant and pomengranate salad created by the legendary Yotam Ottolenghi. As regular readers of this blog will know I am a huge Ottolenghi fan and now that I sadly no longer live around the corner from Ottolenghi’s Notting Hill store I am relying more than ever on his recipe books.
|The colourful salad|
I have made this salad countless times and I love the contrasting flavors and vivid, exuberant colors which make it look just so good on the plate. I was inspired to whip it up again and finally share it with you when a box of yoghurt was delivered to my door as a sample from the lovely people at Chobani. As delicious as the yoghurt is, there is only so much you can eat on its own so I put the creamy yoghurt to good use in a dressing for the salad flavoured with lemon, garlic and saffron.
|Mixing the yoghurt with garlic and lemon juice|
Olive oil for brushing
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
Large handful of pomegranate seeds
Large handful of basil leaves
Salt and pepper to season
1 small pinch of saffron strands
3 tbsp hot water
180g thick Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
1 garlic clove, finely crushed
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
|Frying the eggplant|
1. Start by making the yoghurt dressing. Place the saffron strands into glass, pour over the hot water and let infuse for 5 minutes.
2. Pour the infusion into a bowl containing the yoghurt, crushed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and some salt. Whisk well to get a smooth, golden sauce. Taste for seasoning and chill until ready to use. (Can be made up to 3 days in advance).
3. Cut the eggplants into 1 cm thick slices and brush both sides with oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill on a very hot frying pan until soft and golden brown, then flip over and fry the other side until golden brown as well. (Ottolenghi suggests roasting the eggplant in the oven for 20-30 mins, but I didn’t want to use the oven).
4. To serve, layer the eggplant onto a platter and drizzle with the saffron yogurt dressing, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, torn basil leaves and pomegranate seeds.
Adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook.