I don’t know about you guys but I love pretty much every recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi so I was pretty excited to get my hands on a copy of his 2010 bestseller Plenty. Whilst lots of the recipes appeal to me, one in particular was just screaming out to be made – an aubergine and lentil dish that combines two of my favourite ingredients.
Doesn’t that look delicious!
So, on to, my version of the recipe.
2 medium aubergines
2 tbsp top quality red wine vinegar
200g small dark lentils (Puy for example), washed well in a sieve
3 small carrots, peeled
2 celery sticks
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme
small white onion, peeled and halved if more medium than small
3 tbsp EVOO, plus extra to finish
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp each roughly chopped parsley, coriander and dill
2 tbsp crème fraîche (or Greek yogurt)
salt & pepper
- Pierce the aubergines with a sharp knife in a few places. Put them onto a foil-lined tray and place directly under a hot grill for 1 hour, turning them a few times. They need to deflate completely and their skins should burn and break. Alternatively, you can put them directly onto a moderate gas flame and roast 12-15 minutes turning frequently with metal tongs until the flesh is soft and the skin burnt.
- Remove the aubergines from the heat and set the oven to 140C (Gas Mark 1). Slit down the length of the aubergines and scoop out the flesh into a colander, avoiding the black skin. Leave to drain for at least 15 minutes and then season with plenty of salt and pepper and ½ tablespoon of the vinegar.
- While the aubergines are cooking, place the lentils in a medium saucepan. Cut one carrot and half a celery stick into large chunks and throw them in. Add the bay leaf, thyme and onion. Cover with plenty of water and bring to a boil. Simmer on a low heat for about 25 minutes until the lentils are tender, skimming away any froth. Drain in a sieve. Remove and discard the carrot, celery, bay leaf, thyme and onion and transfer the lentils to a mixing bowl. Add the rest of the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Stir to mix and set aside somewhere warm.
- Cut the remaining carrot and celery into 1cm dice and mix with the tomatoes, remaining oil, sugar and some salt. Spread in an ovenproof dish and cook for about 10 minutes until the carrot is tender but firm.
- Add the cooked vegetables to the warm lentils, followed by the chopped herbs and stir gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spoon the lentils onto a serving platter. Pile the aubergine on top and finish with a dollop of Greek yogurt (or crème fraîche). Finish with a good trickle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
This is pretty much exactly as the recipe appears in Plenty but when I make it again, which I certainly will, I’ll probably cheat and buy a good quality Baba Ganoush for the topping rather than messing about with the aubergine. Or I’ll make more of the aubergine and use the rest to make my own baba ganoush. See Paul Hollywood’s recipe on BBC Food here And just to be completely fair – here’s a glimpse at how the recipe looks in the book: