Long-roasted Aubergine with Garlic, Labne and Chilli Croutons RECIPE
A very special fruit, aubergine, has a wonderfully custardy texture when halved and roasted at a high temperature. Add garlic, labne and crunchy croutons and you’ve got yourself a winner.
Serves 4–6 Total Time 55 mins
- 3 medium or 2 large aubergines, halved lengthways
- 185ml olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 red chilli, very thinly sliced, or 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 175g torn crusty bread, in 1cm pieces
- 250g labne, full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1 preserved lemon, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, extra to taste
- 1 large handful mint or coriander leaves
- Steaming bowl of rice
1. Preheat the oven to 235°C/215°C fan/Gas Mark 8. With a knife, score the cut side of the aubergines lengthways, crossways or diagonally. Knock yourself out!
2. Place the aubergines cut side up on a baking tray and drizzle evenly with 125ml of the olive oil. Season and turn the aubergine over so it’s cut side down.
3. Place in the oven and roast, without moving, until tender and golden on the bottom, 40–45 mins (the skin will look shrivelled and the aubergine on the verge of collapse; you can use a spatula to lift and check the underside for colour).
4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 60ml olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the garlic and chilli until frizzled and fragrant, but not browned, 1–2 mins. Add the bread and season. Stir until evenly toasted, 3–5 mins. Remove and set aside.
5. Combine the labne, preserved lemon and lemon juice in a bowl; season and add more lemon juice, if liked. Smear the mixture over a large serving dish
6. Once the aubergine is ready, use a spatula to carefully lift each half on top of the labne, cut side up. Scatter with the crispy croutons and herbs before serving alongside a bowl of rice.
COOK’S TIP: Whatever you do, just make sure there’s at least one large half of an aubergine per person.