Souk Salad with Spiced Aubergines and Pistachio Yoghurt
This makes an impressive party piece. Equally, it’s a stunning packed lunch to tote into work to make
your colleagues weep (pack the dressing in a lidded jam jar and dress just before serving). All the herbs, veg and spice packed into this pretty salad are hugely energising.
|4||handfuls of mixed salad leaves|
|2||handfuls of fresh herbs (use 2–3: mint, parsley, dill, coriander, chives, basil, tarragon, sorrel)|
|2||large handfuls of mixed seasonal veg*|
|a gloss of olive oil|
|a handful of edible flowers (optional)|
|sea salt and ground pepper|
|FOR THE SPICED AUBERGINES|
|1||garlic clove, chopped|
|a good gloss of olive oil|
|1 tbsp||cumin seeds|
|1 tsp||sweet paprika|
|1 tsp||ground cloves|
|1 tsp||ground cinnamon|
|a pinch of chilli powder|
|FOR THE PISTACHIO YOGHURT|
|6 tbsp||shelled pistachios|
|a large handful of fresh mint|
|1–2 tsp||olive oil|
Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7. Place a baking tray on the top shelf to heat up.
First, make the aubergines. Halve the aubergines lengthways. Make 1cm deep cuts on the diagonal, about 2cm apart. Repeat in the opposite direction, creating a criss-cross pattern. Rub the chopped garlic over the top. Dust with salt and pepper. Gloss with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Roast on the heated tray for 40 minutes until tender.
Mix up the aubergine spices. Dust over the cooked aubergine. Roast for another 5 minutes.
For the pistachio yoghurt, whizz the pistachios with the mint and yoghurt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Alternatively, grind the pistachios in a pestle and mortar, add the mint, pound it to a paste and whisk into the yoghurt. Season, to taste. Trickle in a little olive oil, as needed.
Clean your salad leaves. Mix in a large bowl with your herbs and seasonal veg. Sprinkle over a pinch of salt and pepper, gloss with a drop of olive oil and mix well.
Roll the pomegranates on a firm surface to loosen the seeds. Place a sieve over a bowl. Cut the pomegranates over the sieve so the juices are caught in the bowl. Pluck the seeds from the pomegranates: I do this by inverting the pomegranate halves; gently tease any stuck seeds out with your fingers. Remove any white pith from your pile of seeds. Drizzle the pomegranate juice over the salad. Divide between plates.
Dollop with some pistachio yoghurt. Plonk a spiced aubergine half on each salad. Finish with the pomegranate seeds and the edible flowers, if using. Serve the remaining yoghurt on the side.
*My favourite mix is thinly sliced radishes (toss the leaves in with the salad leaves), thinly sliced cucumber rounds, tender purple sprouting broccoli florets, thinly sliced red onions (gently softened by placing them in a sieve and pouring boiling water over) and shavings of fennel (add the fronds to the herb mix).