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Finally Spring is on its way and you want your food lighter than in winter. So here is a vegetarian recipe (but you can combine with fish or meat – see side note below). It’s perfect as a starter (for 4) or a light dinner (for 2). The color combination caught my eye directly and the taste is great. Hope you like it!

See the simple recipe here:

Ingredients
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook
2 large and long aubergines (eggplants)
75ml olive oil
Fresh lemon thyme sprigs (and more for garnish)
Fleur de Sel & black pepper
1 Pomegranate
1 teaspoon Za’atar (Middle Eastern spice blend of sumac, sesame seeds and herbs)

For the Sauce:
100ml buttermilk
140g Greek yogurt
1½ teaspoons olive oil, plus a drizzle to finish off
1 small garlic clove, crushed
Pinch salt

Directions
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (oven set to air circulation).

Wash the aubergines and cut them in two lengthwise, including the stalk (just for the look, you don’t eat them). Slice a diamond pattern into the aubergines on the cut side, carefully taking care not to cut as far as the skin.

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Place the aubergines onto a lined oven tray and brush with the olive oil, until it has soaked into the aubergine flesh. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon thyme sprigs. Roast for approx. 30 minutes. The aubergines should be nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let them cool off slightly.Eggplant_Buttermilk-GreekYoghurt_Pomegranate_Eggplants_Oil.jpg

While the aubergines are in the oven you can prepare the rest. Cut the pomegranate into two halves and remove the seeds by holding the round side in your hand, the cut side facing down into a bowl (I always do this in the sink, so it doesn’t splatter) and knock a wooden spoon or the back of a soup ladle against the rounded side and the seeds will pop out. Sift through the seeds and remove any white bits of skin and set the seeds aside in a bowl.

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For the sauce: Whisk together all sauce ingredients above and cool.

To serve: Either place all aubergine halves in a casserole dish, the diamond patterned side up, spoon lots of the sauce on top (not over the stalk), then sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and za’atar, garnish with lemon thyme sprigs and drizzle a little olive oil on top. Alternatively you can decorate each aubergine half on a plate.

Note on the side:
This is a perfect dish by itself or alternatively you can serve a white fish (e.g. monkfish) with the aubergines. Another great combination is to serve when barbecuing in summer time, as it is super light and can be served warm, which makes it an ideal side dish.