roast aubergine, avocado & chicory salad with honey, chilli & cardamom and a tahini-yoghurt dressing
In the wake of the Bobby Flay Food Network special on Ireland, we’ve had a lot of requests for the recipe for the aubergine dish featured in that show. There is a version of the recipe in my new book, which is available now for pre-order from our online shop and, obviously, we would love it if everyone not only bought the book but bought it directly from us!
That said, I know some of you want to have a go at it right away, so here it is exactly as it appears in the book. It’s worth pointing out that the essence of the recipe is a way of treating aubergines, and the dish was created to use small to medium-sized ones from Gortnanain Farm, from where we get a steady supply of perfect, fresh and almost seedless aubergines right through the summer.
The rest of the dish is essentially a complement to the aubergine. If you don’t fancy or can’t get chicory, use any other salad leaf – crisp and slightly bitter is the ideal – or invent your own way of presenting the aubergine. We’d love to hear about your own variations on it. After all, there’s always a next book to get started on!
3 small aubergines
12 cardamom pods, seeds only, crushed but not ground
4 birdseye chillies, ground
2 tablespoons honey, warmed
1 tablespoons tahini
1 clove garlic
juice of ½ lemon
4 tablespoons yoghurt
1 head chicory, halved and thinly sliced
1 red pepper, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted
Slice the aubergines lengthways about 1cm (½ in) thick. Brush these on both sides with olive oil and roast them on a baking tray in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until lightly coloured, turning once if necessary. Transfer to a shallow dish or plate and brush with the honey. Mix together the cardamom seeds, chillies, a pinch of salt and the olive oil. Spoon or brush this marinade over the aubergines and leave for 10 minutes.
Whisk some water into the tahini to get a thick pouring consistency. Add the garlic, lemon and yoghurt and whisk to combine. If it is too thick, dilute with water.
Peel the avocadoes and slice thickly.
Lay three slices of aubergines on each plate and arrange some of the avocado in the centre. Drizzle a little tahini dressing over it. Dress the chicory with some of the dressing and place it on top of the avocado. Drizzle some more dressing over the salad and around the plate and scatter some sesame seeds on top.