Sunday is the day that I take stock in my kitchen, crank up the radio and prep for the week ahead. And one of the things I like to always make sure I have in the fridge is a choice of plant based ‘dips’ to tuck into through the week.
This aubergine jar fits the bill. I discovered it years ago whilst on a baking workshop with Richard Bertinet in Bath. We had a wealth of salads for lunch with, of course, the best bread and this aubergine jar was a dip I just couldn’t get enough of. I seem to remember a second jar being cracked open, it was that good..
3 cloves of garlic
Fresh thyme leaves
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tbsp pine nuts
Juice of ½ a lemon, to taste
Extra Virgin olive oil
Sea salt to season
Heat your oven to 220c and line a large baking tray.
Slice the aubergines length wise and make crosshatch cuts across the surface area.
Slice the garlic cloves in half and rub over the prepared aubergines, to impart flavour. As the clove breaks in your fingers, stuff it into the crosshatches, so that it will roast and melt in as the aubergine cooks.
Dress with a good amount of olive oil, season with salt and fleck with thyme leaves to taste. Roast the aubergines for 40-50 minutes until soft and charred. Set aside to cool.
As the aubergines are cooling, gently sauté the pine nuts and shallot for a few minutes until the shallots are soft. Remove from heat and scrape the flesh of the aubergine, garlic and all, into the pan. Give it a good mix and return to a medium heat for a few minutes to bring everything together, stirring all the while.
Remove from heat, taste and season with salt and lemon juice. Add a little olive oil to loosen the mix and flavour but do keep a light hand as olive oil can be super rich with aubergine.
When cool, pot in a lidded glass jar and cover surface with a slosh of olive oil to seal. Store chilled for up to five days.