This dish makes a lovely sharing plate for a snack or appetizer, or part of a mezze platter with homous, yoghurts, dips and flatbreads. The same toppings can be done with large aubergines if baby ones cant be found.
Serves 4 as an appetizer | vegan
300g baby aubergine
1 head of garlic
40g pine nuts
10g mint leaves
10g basil leaves
½ lemon, zest and juice
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
50ml Olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
½ lemon, juiced
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
3-4 tbsp water
1. Preheat the oven to 240C/220C fan.
2. Remove the outer papery layers from the head of garlic. Slice ½ an inch from the top of the head, exposing the cloves inside. Place on a doubled sheet of foil with a good lug of olive oil and wrap up to form a parcel. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until you can easily pop the garlic cloves out of the skins. They should be soft enough to squeeze between your fingers.
3. Cut the aubergines in half lengthways, leaving the stalks on. Make a criss-cross incision across the flesh of the aubergines. Place on a baking tray, flesh side up, with a good drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until the flesh is soft and skin is crisp.
4. In a small frying pan, toast the pine nuts for 3 minutes until golden brown all over. Keep an eye as they will catch quickly. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
5. Prepare the salsa by chopping half the pine nuts and herbs, or briefly blitzing in a food processor so it I still quite chunky. Add the lemon, vinegar and slowly drizzle in the olive oil, just enough to bind it to a thick salsa. When the garlic is ready, add the roasted garlic cloves and mix into the salsa. They should be soft enough to break down as you stir through. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Prepare the tahini dressing by whisking the tahini, lemon juice with salt and pepper. Add enough water to form a smooth, creamy dressing.
7. Spoon the garlic salsa into the aubergines, while still warm, where you made the incision. Arrange on a serving plate and drizzle over the tahini dressing and the rest of the pine nuts.