Indy Power: Harissa turns up the heat
Go as spicy as you like with this statement aubergine dish that is sure to impress.
I adore aubergines and this is such an easy way to make a big impact. The level of spice will depend on the harissa you use so make sure to taste it before. Walnuts work well instead of pine nuts and a little parsley garnish goes a long way.
Serves 4. Gluten free, dairy free and paleo-friendly
2 large aubergines
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon harissa
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon honey
Juice 1 lemon
Sea salt and pepper
Handful pine nuts
Small handful parsley
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the aubergine into rectangular wedges. Add them to a roasting tray and drizzle on 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Toss them well, season with salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes until tender.
Add the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil to a large pan on medium-high heat. Mince the garlic and add it to the pan with the harissa and grated ginger. Toss well and cook for about 2 minutes until the garlic has softened.
Add the roasted aubergines and toss well. Whisk together the honey and lemon juice and then pour it into the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and leave to cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly until the liquid has evaporated and the aubergines have softened even more.
While that's cooking, toast the pine nuts in a pan until golden.
Serve the aubergine with the pine nuts sprinkled on top.
Harissa has become my latest must-have ingredient. It’s a blend of spices, chillies and tomatoes and I always have some of it in the fridge. It is just so versatile and such a great shortcut to amazing flavour. Most good food shops have it on the shelves and specialty stores often have a few to choose from. It’s also a favourite at farmer’s market stalls if you have an eye out. The level of heat will vary between them, but it’s great as a spread and in sauces and marinades. Harissa is also quite simple to make at home and keeps well in the fridge for about a month.
If you want to make your own harissa, soak about 120g of dried chillies in boiling water for 20 minutes. While they’re soaking, toast a teaspoon each of coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a pan on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and deseed the chillies and add them to the food processor with the toasted spices, a teaspoon of paprika and 3 cloves of chopped garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and a teaspoon of sea salt. Start blending and gradually add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Blend to a paste and then taste and adjust the seasoning. Store in a jar in the fridge.
MAKE IT A FEAST
This recipe goes so well with so many dishes, but obviously it’s best as part of a Middle-Eastern style feast. I’d opt for hummus, a quinoa pilaf and some lamb or chicken, or keep it veggie with some halloumi or a chickpea-stuffed sweet potato. Recipes for all of the above can be found on thelittlegreenspoon.com