With a name like “chermoula aubergine with bulgar and yoghurt”, you know it’s gotta have a UK superchef behind it. Sure enough, this is the creation of Yotom Ottolenghi, famed London restauranteur and lover of expensive and hard to find ingredients like orange flower water and preserved lemon.
This recipe makes use of the latter ingredient, which I’m pretty sure isn’t necessary if your grocer doesn’t carry it (thought I was quite surprised to find that Waitrose had not one but TWO brands of preserved lemon, but then again, Waitrose likes to sell things they can charge a fortune for). The lemon is all part of a luxurious, spicy “chermoula” rub that you slather on some halved eggplant and bake until soft and delicious.
(Power tip: make extra chermoula – it’ll keep forever and make future eggplant slathers a snap.)
To add to the oozy soft aubergine is the perfection of bulgar wheat, well seasoned with mint, cilantro, toasted almonds, raisins and, unusually, green olives.
Chermoula aubergine with bulgar and yoghurt
Adapted from this recipe by Yotom Ottolenghi.
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 2 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon skin
- 90ml olive oil, plus extra to finish
- 2 medium aubergines
For the bulgar wheat:
- 150g fine bulgar
- 50ml olive oil
- 50g sultanas
- 10g fresh coriander, chopped, plus extra to finish
- 10g fresh mint, chopped
- 50g green olives, halved
- 30g flaked almonds, toasted
- 3 spring onions, chopped
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
To serve: 120g Greek yoghurt
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. To make the chermoula, mix together the garlic, cumin, coriander, chilli, paprika, preserved lemon, 90ml olive oil and half a teaspoon of salt.
Cut the aubergines in half lengthways and score the flesh of each half with diagonal, crisscross lines, making sure not to pierce the skin. Spoon the chermoula over each half, spreading it evenly, and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, or until the aubergines are very soft.
Meanwhile, place the bulgar in a large bowl and cover with 140ml boiling water. Soak the sultanas in 50ml of warm water for 10 minutes, then drain and add to the bulgar, along with the 50ml olive oil. Stir in the herbs, olives, almonds, spring onions, lemon juice and salt, taste and add more salt, if necessary.
Serve the aubergines warm or at room temperature. Place one half-aubergine per portion on a serving plate, spoon bulgar on top, allowing some to fall over the sides, spoon over a little yoghurt, sprinkle with chopped coriander and finish with a dribble of olive oil.