This salad is a bit of a stunner - and definitely good for the transition from summer to autumn but I think it might enter the repertoire permanently.
It started with an aubergine. Actually it started a couple of weeks ago with a different aubergine. We were at the Canton Arms one Sunday for a quiet beer and the sharing of a couple of starters while we read the papers. I love those kind of Sundays! That day one of the dishes was a particularly awesome salad of cubed aubergine dressed with mint and yoghurt and maybe tahini. Seriously gorgeous with thick slices of warm bread. Didn't have the recipe - should have asked.
Usually I move on to new cravings but that salad stayed with me - the creamy freshness of the dressing worked so well I found myself wondering about it in idle moments. I had one attempt where I roasted the cubes in a little olive oil then dressed it cold with yoghurt and garlic, walnuts and mint which was good but not hanker after it memorable. Missed the spot.
Friday I had some lovely little lamb chops that needed an accompaniment to make them supper. Thought I'd have another shot at the salad but there was next to no mint in the garden. There was, however, loads of dill, my new herb of love. Added here and there it has been one of the flavours of our summer. Cut a generous amount then set about making a new dressing. Also decided to steam the aubergine just to see what it would be like.
Aubergine Salad with Walnuts & Yoghurt
Steaming the aubergine gave it a lovely delicacy of texture - like little pillows of joy - but roasting would also work well
Serves 2 generously as a side dish
1 medium sized aubergine
1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 tspn salt
2 tbspns walnuts
1 tbspn chopped dill
100ml plain yoghurt
25ml olive oil
Salt and pepper
Cut the aubergine into 2cm cubes. Put them into a perforated steam tray, season lightly, then steam at 100C for 15 minutes. If roasting, put them into a roasting tin with a little olive oil, season then cook at Gas4/180C/350F for about 20 minutes until they are cooked through.
Using a pestle and mortar crush the clove of garlic with the salt to make a paste. Add the walnuts and dill and keep pounding until you have a rough paste. Add the yoghurt and mix well then drizzle in the oil, still mixing with the pestle till it is all combined. Taste a bit to check for seasoning then add the required salt and ground pepper.
Let the aubergine cool slightly then fold it into the dressing. The flavour develops if you let it sit for about half an hour.
It was perfect with grilled lamb but it would work well with chicken or fish or as part of a meze platter. Thoroughly addictive!