dressing, are among the most wholesome plant foods on earth. Not that I'm counting vitamins here: what I like about the warming middle-eastern flavours in this salad is that
they are so well suited to days that are getting shorter and cooler, but aren't quite chilly enough to break out the mulled wine and the woollen vests.
I'm fortunate to live close to a little supermarket (Hout Bay's Oakhurst Spar) that has a very good vegetable section (my previous local Spar was just dismal; not only was it grimy, but I couldn't go near the meat section, with its lavish displays of yellow-toenailed chickens' feet). My new Spar always has a nice selection of organic veggies, and on Saturday I picked up these plump, litchi-sized eggplants. I haven't had much luck with wee eggplanties in the past - they are sometimes terribly bitter, and no amount of salting and draining will help. These ones had a slight bitterness, but a good one, which is perfectly offset by the creaminess of the cheese. I've used a peppered, crumbly Jersey milk cream cheese from Fairview (available at Woolies and supermarkets in South Africa), but you could use any peppered feta or goat's milk cheese in this recipe.
If you can't find baby aubergines, cut some adult ones into cubes.
Roast Baby Aubergines with Rocket and Peppered Cream Cheese, and a Tahini Dressing
16 baby aubergines [eggplants or brinjals]
3 cloves garlic
3 T (45 ml) olive oil
salt and milled papper
a bag of rocket
100 g peppered cream cheese, or similar
a handful of green pumpkin seeds
For the dressing:
1 ½ tsp (7.5 ml) tahini
4 T (60 ml) olive oil
the juice of a lemon
1 tsp (5 ml) cumin
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Put the aubergines and unpeeled garlic cloves on a baking sheet, pour over the olive oil and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Bake at 180°C for 25 minutes, or until the aubergines are quite tender, but not charred. Set aside. Now make the dressing. Squeeze the softened garlic cloves out of their papery cases and place in a small bowl. Whisk in the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and cumin, and season with salt.
Put the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan and toss over a medium heat for a minute or so, or until they are lightly toasted. To assemble the salad, put the rocket on a platter and arrange the warm roasted aubergines on top. Crumble the cream cheese and scatter it over the salad, along with the toasted pumpkin seeds. Pour the dressing over and toss gently to combine.
Serves 4. Print Friendly