I recently bought a great cookbook about Persian cuisine called “Persiana”. It’s full of very tasty and fragrant dishes and if, like me, you love middle-eastern food, you’ll be in for a treat. Every dish combines beautiful flavours such as cumin, lemon, sumac or rosewater with gorgeous colours like pistachio green or pomegranate’s flamboyant red. This dip is a great hit and I was asked the recipe many times when I served it.
Source: Persiana from Sabrina Ghayour
100g shelled pistachios
60g olive oil
200g feta cheese
Handful of dill, leaves picked out
3 handfuls of coriander, leave picked out
1 garlic clove
1 long red chilli, deseeded
145g greek yoghurt
Grated rind of a lemon, juice of ½ lemon
- Blitz pistachios and oil on turbo for 2 sec at a time until powdered.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and blend 30 seconds /speed 8.
- Scrape down the sides and blend another 15 sec/speed 8 until smooth but with still some grainy texture.
- Serve with flat bread.
I absolutely adore Caviar d’aubergines, the French name for the Middle Eastern dish called Baba Ganoush. I have tried many versions but they were all disappointments: either too bland or too garlicky, they lacked the smokey taste so particular to the real Baba Ganoush. But then, I read that one of my favourite French blogger: Valérie from C’est ma fournée has nailed it and delivers all her secrets to the perfect Baba Ganoush in her blog. As soon as I finished reading her recipe, I ran to the supermarket to get the aubergines and after an excruciating wait overnight to let the flavours infuse, I got to taste the most delightful aubergine dip I have ever made!
Source: C’est ma fournée
3 aubergines (or 4 small ones), choose the shiniest ones
5 garlic cloves, leave them in their skin and keep them together
1 egg yolk
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp mustard
100g neutral oil (sunflower, canola…) – you might not need the whole 100g!
Salt and pepper
Paprika and olive oil for decoration
- Preheat the oven at 250C conventional oven (no fan!)
- Line a metal baking tray with foil and place the whole aubergines on it (it’s important to use metal to conduct a maximum of heat)
- Bake on the middle shelf for 30 minutes.
- Turn the aubergines and bake for another 10 minutes
- Wrap the garlic cloves in foil and place on the tray with the aubergine and bake for a further 20 minutes (the recipe says 15 min but for me the garlic wasn’t quite confit enough so I’d say add 5 minutes, it’s no harm for the aubergine, which need to be nice and almost chargrilled). The garlic must be like puree inside the clove.
- Take out the aubergines and garlic from the oven. Using a spoon, scoop out the pulp from the garlic skin and set aside.
- Lift the foil with the aubergines on it and place away from the tray (careful, it’s very hot!). Turn the aubergine 1/4 to the right (or the left, it doesn’t matter) and cut lengthway with a sharp knife.
- Scoop out the flesh of the aubergine and place into a sieve sitting on a bowl. Now, the important bit here is to scrape the skin very well to get all the smokey flesh, be thorough, you should be left with the skin and only the skin!
- Add the confit garlic to the aubergine and let it drain for 2 hours at least. This is another very important step: we want to get rid of as much water as possible to concentrate the flavours.
- Meanwhile, make a mayonnaise: in the TM bowl, place the egg yolk, mustard, salt and pepper and the vinegar. Place the butterfly whisk on top of the blades, lock the lid and start mixing on speed 4 (don’t put any time as it varies…)
- Place the measuring cup upside-down (the bottom facing up) and slowly start pouring the oil over it. The measuring cup will help controlling the flow of oil going down. When about 1/4 of the oil has been absorbed, stop the speed and check the consistency of the mayonnaise, it should be thick but the mayonnaise is not quite there yet. If it’s not thick, continue whisking and add slowly more oil and check often until thickened.
- Once thickened, close the lid, and set the speed to 4 again and pour the oil a little faster this time above the measuring cup (still upside down).
- Now check every now and then for taste. You want to stop when it taste right to you: neither too mustardy nor too salty.
- Tip out and set aside.
- When the aubergines have drained for 2 hours, place them in the TM bowl with half the mayonnaise (take out the butterfly whisk)
- Mix for 30 sec/speed 4.
- Tip out into a bowl and cover with cling film. Refrigerate overnight to infuse the flavours. Also cover with cling film the other half of the mayonnaise (cling film must touch the surface of the mayo) and refrigerate. Keep up to 2 days max in the fridge.
- To serve, sprinkle with paprika, olive oil and serve with warm pitta bread. It’s heavenly!