MOUTABEL AKA SMOKED AUBERGINE

This popular, crowd pleasing vegan Levantine dip - Moutabel (literally meaning ‘mashed’) is delicious scooped up with warm flatbread. I don’t know what it is about wood and fire, but men can’t help but tinker. Leave a barbecue unmanned for a minute to grab a top up at a party and you’ll return to find somebody has assumed your position, fiddling with your tongs, just itching to get near the hot embers. I’m as guilty as the next… So, to scratch that itch - when I’m entertaining, I hand the task of blackening the aubergines to whomever of my friends masterfully, burnt the chipolatas to cinders at a previous gathering! Even the most untrained kitchen hand can’t really muck this dish up. Once the outside of the aubergines are burnt and the pulp inside is soft and smoky, finishing the dish takes a matter of minutes.

SERVES:

4 as part of a meze or 8 as a dip with crudities

COOKS IN:

Less than 30 minutes

DIFFICULTY:

Super easy

INGREDIENTS

2 aubergines (about 700g)

3 tablespoon Arabica Tahini

Juice of 1½ lemons

1 tablespoon Greek style yogurt (optional)

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon flaked sea salt

Garnish:

1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds

1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, leaves picked

METHOD

Prick the Aubergines a couple of times with a sharp knife to stop them exploding during cooking. Blacken the aubergines over a barbeque, or gas hob, turning regularly until completely charred. Rest for 15 minutes.

When cooler enough to handle, slit the aubergines lengthways and scoop out the flesh, making sure not to leave any of the smoky goodness close to the skins. Discard the skins.

In a mixing bowl, add the tahini, lemon juice, yogurt and finely crushed garlic. Mash the aubergines gently with a fork until you have a chunky texture, and then stir into the tahini mixture. Season to taste.

Arrange on a serving plate, sprinkle with chopped flat leaf parsley, pomegranate seeds and finish with good quality extra virgin oil.

Serve with plenty of warm flatbread.

Recipe by James Walters, self-taught chef and founder of Arabica.

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