Party

Aubergine toasts with shallot compote

4

These smoky, pomegranate-studded aubergine toasts are deceptively easy to construct and will have your friends clamouring for the recipe. If you don’t want to make your own ras el hanout blend, you can buy a pre mixed jar to save time.

Ingredients

For the ras el hanout spice blend*

  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • Pinch of salt
  • *buy your own if you prefer

For the compote

  • A little olive oil
  • 4 echalion shallots (approx. 175g)
  • Few sprigs of young thyme
  • Salt & pepper

For the aubergine strips

  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 8 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp dried mint
  • 4 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • Salt & pepper

To serve

  • Pitta bread squares to serve
  • Chopped curly parsley
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Black and white sesame seeds

Method

  1. If making your own, mix the spices for the ras el hanout. You can make a much bigger batch of this, if you like, and store in a jar for about a month.
  2. Make the compote by heating a tbsp of olive oil in a heavy-based sauté pan. Peel and finely slice the shallots and add to the pan with the thyme and some seasoning. Stir well, reduce the heat to low and cover with a circle of baking parchment. Cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden. Set aside.
  3. Burn the aubergine all over on a gas hob until charred. If you don’t have gas, use a blowtorch or grill them. It should be soft and cooked but firm enough to slice. Carefully slice it into long strips and lay them flat on the worktop.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the filling ingredients and add the shallot compote and spice mix. Stir well and season to taste.
  5. Spread a tbsp of the filling on to each strip of aubergine and roll into a cylinder. Toast the pitta squares and top each with a rolled aubergine strip, a little chopped parsley, pomegranate and sesame seeds.