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Chermoula aubergine with bulgar and herbs and Greek yoghurt

 

Chermoula is a powerful North African paste that is brushed over fish and vegetables giving them the perfumed aroma of preserved lemon, mixed with heat and spice. Here, the aubergines flavoured with chermoula, drizzled with cold yoghurt, and combined with sweet and salty bulgar salad make a luscious way to start any meal.

 

Ingredients:
·        3 garlic cloves, crushed
·         4 tsp ground cumin
·         4 tsp ground coriander
·         2 tsp chilli flakes
·         2 tsp sweet paprika
·         4 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon
·         150 ml extra virgin good quality olive oil, plus extra to finish
·         4 medium aubergines
·         200g fine bulgar
·         50g sultanas
·         20g fresh coriander, chopped, plus extra to finish
·         20g fresh mint, chopped
·         100g pitted green olives, halved
·         50g flaked almonds, toasted
·         3 spring onions, chopped
·         1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
·         200g Greek yoghurt or 0% fat natural yoghurt (optional)
·         Salt
 
Method:

1.     Preheat the oven to 200°C.

2.     To make the chermoula, mix together the garlic, cumin, coriander, chilli, paprika, preserved lemon, two thirds of the olive oil and ½ teaspoon of salt.

3.     Cut the aubergines in half lengthways.  Score the flesh with deep diagonal criss-cross scores, making sure not to pierce the skin. Spoon the chermoula over each half, spreading it evenly.  Place on a baking sheet cut side up and roast in oven for 40 minutes.

4.     Meanwhile, place the bulgar in a large bowl and cover with 200ml of boiling water.

5.   Soak the sultanas in warm water for 10 minutes then drain and add to bulgar. Add the chopped herbs, olives, flaked almonds, spring onions, lemon juice, and a little olive oil.

6.    Serve the aubergines warm or at room temperature. Place one half per portion on plate with some fine salad leaves.  If too much, cut in half again. Spoon bulgar on top.  Spoon over some yoghurt (optional), add chopped coriander and drizzle with a little olive oil.