Photo by: Jonathan Lovekin

Aubergine with buttermilk sauce

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2 large and long aubergines
80ml olive oil
1½ tsp lemon thyme leaves, plus a few whole sprigs to garnish
1 pomegranate
1 tsp za’atar
Maldon sea salt and black pepper

140ml buttermilk
100g Greek yoghurt
1½ tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle to finish
1 small garlic clove, crushed
pinch of salt

I can’t think of a more rustically elegant (is that a contradiction in terms?) starter. Serve with some robust white bread or pitta and you are, literally, in food heaven. In the recipe you’ll find Sami Tamimi’s technique for getting the seeds out of the pomegranate, which I am afraid is now a very well-known secret.

Serves 4 as a starter

(p 110, Plenty)


The method for this recipe is available in the book Plenty, available to buy here.
Plenty |


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  • Shop Works well with some modifications
    (20/10/2014) The first time we tried this dish, we followed the prescribed method and used half aubergines with the olive oil infused as recommended in the recipe. We were not totally pleased as cooking time was very long and the result was still somewhat dreary (in our mind, a general risk with aubergines).

    The second time, we digressed from the method set forth in the recipe and cut the aubergines in thin slices which we brushed with olive oil on both sides. Much, much better!
    We did not need to wait for an eternity, and the overall taste was a lot more convincing. Since then we've cooked the dish again and always worked with the slices.

    Great combination of tastes though.