Roasted Eggplant with a garlic-yogurt sauce

As evenings get cooler, we don’t mind switching on our ovens and roasting vegetables at high temperature. You might want to try roasting eggplants while they are still plentiful. Choose the regular glossy dark eggplants for this. The addition of a pinch of turmeric is less for taste than for color – it imbues the eggplant slices with a golden hue. You can omit it if you don’t have ground turmeric handy.

Roasted Eggplant with a garlic-yoghurt sauce
1 medium eggplant
2 Tbs. light olive oil, plus extra for oiling baking tray
scant ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
salt and pepper
For the yoghurt sauce:
4 Tbs. Greek yoghurt
1 clove garlic
sea-salt , or Kosher salt
1 tsp. light olive oil
½ tsp. lemon juice
cream, half and half or milk
To finish: 1 tsp. finely chopped or julienned mint leaves
2 tsp. finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 F, with a baking tray inside. Meanwhile, make the yoghurt sauce (see below.) Slice eggplant into thickish ½-inch or so rounds. Mix 2 tablespoons olive oil with turmeric and salt and pepper. Brush seasoned oil on both sides of the eggplant slices.  Remove the hot baking tray from the oven and add just enough plain oil to glisten the bottom. (Alternatively, line the bottom of the pan with non-stick foil.) Add the eggplant slices and roast for about half an hour, turning the slices once or twice, until tender and golden brown.

For the sauce: Finely chop the garlic with a pinch of coarse salt, then mash it to a paste  with the side of the knife. (Or use a garlic crusher.) Stir garlic into yoghurt; add lemon juice and olive oil, and enough cream or milk to thin sauce to a runny drizzling consistency. Check sauce for seasoning and let flavors mingle until ready to serve. Arrange roasted eggplant on a plate, drizzle with sauce, strew over walnuts and mint, and dot here and there with paprika. Serve remaining sauce on the side. Serves 2 as a side dish or as part of a meatless meal with grains and salad.

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