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The Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Burnt Aubergine, Tomato and Tahini

Yotam Ottolenghi

by Yotam Ottolenghi, The Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Team, Noor Murad from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love

This simple dish of burnt aubergine, tomato and tahini is ideal served as part of a mezze spread for a dinner part of crowd.

From the book

Yotam Ottolenghi, Noor Murad


This dish was born out of some leftover tomato pasta sauce, as well as a few aubergines that really needed using up. Scoop this up with warm pita bread (p. 23 of OTK: Shelf Love) and eat it alongside other mezze, or with soft-boiled eggs for a hearty breakfast.

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4 medium (1kg) aubergines
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
15g pine nuts
1½ tsp cumin seeds. roughly crushed with a pestle and mortar
1½ tsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed with a pestle and mortar
½ tsp chilli flakes
30g tahini
5g dill, roughly chopped, plus 1 tbsp extra picked leaves to serve
For the tomato sauce:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 (180g) onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tin (400g) plum tomatoes, roughly crushed by hand
½ tsp caster sugar
salt and black pepper


Place a well-greased griddle pan on a high heat. Prick the aubergines all over with a fork, about 8–10 times, and, once smoking, grill them, turning as necessary until well charred all over and softened through the middle, about 45 minutes. Set aside to cool completely and, once cool enough to handle, peel and discard the stems and skins (don’t worry if there’s some skin attached) and roughly pull apart the flesh into strands. Set aside.

Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Put the oil into a medium sauté pan on a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly coloured. Add the crushed garlic and tomato paste and cook for a minute more, then add the tinned tomatoes, sugar, 100ml of water, ½ teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium and cook for 18 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick and rich.

Make the topping. Heat the oil in a small frying pan on a medium-high heat, then add the sliced garlic and the pine nuts and cook for 60–90 seconds, or until lightly golden. Add the spices and a tiny pinch of salt and immediately remove from the heat. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the tahini with 2½ tablespoons of water and a tiny pinch of salt until smooth and pourable.

To the tomato sauce, add the burnt aubergine, 3 tablespoons of water, ¼ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper and cook on a medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Remove from the heat and stir through the chopped dill. Drizzle all over with the tahini, then spoon over the fried garlic and pine nut mixture and top with the picked dill leaves. Serve warm.

Make it your own:

– Save time by using jarred tomato sauce instead.

– Replace the burnt aubergine with chopped-up roasted veggies such as courgettes and red peppers.


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From the book: Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love

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