aubergine and pomegranate tapenade
Aubergine and pomegranate tapenade, hardly cooking, but if you’re after a quick dish with bags of flavour, read on. Munching Zejd pomegranate tapenade on a piece of sourdough, with a handful of Zejd souri green cracked olives, is indeed a winningly simple combination. But what if you coloured thick slices of aubergine in an oven until they were meltingly golden brown, and used them instead of the sourdough?
Simple dishes are key at busy times of the year. Perhaps this is when we’re tempted by supermarket ready meals. This means hidden additives, masquerading as flavour, and having to deal with the extra recycling thanks to all the packaging. Instead, the fruit and veg aisle, or better still a green grocer, is bound to have a couple of aubergine, and a pomegranate. Zejd pomegranate tapenade is so full of flavour you need little else. Made of stellar Lebanese ingredients, Zejd souri black olives from north Lebanon, capers, Zejd pomegranate molasses, thyme, rosemary, garlic, blended with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. No additives. No flavourings. Just flavour. Pine nuts, or walnuts, are optional, scattered on the top, adding to the crunchy texture of the beautiful juicy pomegranate seeds. For those who like an extra citrusy kick, a scattering of Zejd sumac goes so well with aubergine.
The 30 minutes it takes for the aubergines to cook, gives you time to empty a dishwasher, lay the table, slice some bread and slowly fry a handful of pine nuts in a teaspoon of Zejd’s extra virgin olive oil. And that’s as complicated as it gets.
enough for 4 or 8 as a starter
- Set the oven to 190 degrees/fan 170 degrees/Gas 5.
- Brush both sides of the aubergine slices with the extra virgin olive oil. Lay them on 2 baking sheets lined with baking paper. Scatter some sea salt on each slice.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until soft and golden brown, but not crispy.
- Remove from the oven, and spread a teaspoon of Zejd’s pomegranate tapenade on each slice, not too thickly. Leave the aubergine in the oven, switched off, with the door closed to take the chill off the tapenade.
- Meanwhile, fry the pine nuts or walnuts in a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil until lightly coloured. Scatter them on each slice of aubergine. And dot with the pomegranate seeds.
To serve, transfer each slice on to a plate and scatter with sumac, if using. Serve alongside some good bread, Zejdsouri olives.
As a starter, this can be kept warm in the residual heat of an oven and then topped with nuts and pomegranate seeds just before serving. Add a few rocket leaves or some watercress for a bit of freshness.