Baba ganoush (the smoky, amazing aubergine dip), tabbouleh (a delicious herby salad) and fattoush (the lush one with bread in it) are some of my favourite Middle Eastern dishes. In what started out as a joke, I took elements from all three recipes to make my own mega mix. Here, I present baba taboush! Perfect for a summer barbecue with friends (the recipe is easily multiplied), plus the leftovers are still delicious the next day. You can slice the aubergine and grill it in slivers if you prefer. The silky strands of aubergine tumbled through the freekeh are to die for. Let’s grill!
(serves four to six as a side dish or two as a main course)
1 large or 2 small aubergines
1 tsp olive oil
275ml vegetable stock
2 large pitta bread
2 Little Gem lettuces, leaves separated, washed and dried
For The Dressing:
2-3 tbsp water
2 tbsp (30ml) tahini
2 tsp lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt flakes
Small handful each of mint, flat leaf parsley and coriander leaves
1 tsp pomegranate molasses
Sea salt flakes and fresh black pepper
1. Rub the aubergine with the olive oil then lay on the grill. You can also cook it over a gas flame or on a foil-lined tray under a preheated hot grill.
2. Keep turning frequently with tongs until the aubergine is totally blackened, blistered and collapsing in on itself. This will take approximately 20-30 minutes. Cool.
3. Rinse the freekeh under cold water in a sieve. Tip into a saucepan and add the vegetable stock. Stir well, bring to the boil then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat then leave covered for five minutes before fluffing up with a fork.
4. Meanwhile, toast the pitta bread until golden brown. Cut into small pieces. Leave to cool. Cut the end off the aubergine then peel the skin. Pull flesh apart into long strands.
5. In a bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together, starting with 2 tablespoons of water, adding more until it forms a sauce. Taste and season.
6. Layer the strands of charred aubergine, cooked freekeh, lettuce and toasted pitta bread on a platter and drizzle the dressing and the molasses. Top with the herbs and serve with the extra dressing on the side.
Cook the aubergine over the barbecue flames before they've died down. It'll mae good use of the period before you cook your meat and fish.
If you can't find freekeh,use brown rice, couscous or bulgur wheat.
You can make the dressing, aubergine and freekeh up to two days in advance.