In this recipe I serve eggplant with the North-African spice paste, chermoula. Spicy, herby, rich and pungent, chermoula is a fantastic North African sauce that’s begging to be made when the weather is warm and the plates move outside. This marvellous mishmash of coriander, parsley, chilli, paprika, garlic, cumin and olive oil is a Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian mainstay. Traditionally served with fish, I love this paste with any grilled meats, grilled veg (obviously), couscous or rice.

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  • LEVEL: Easy
  • Prep: 25 Minutes (plus time for salting)
  • Cook: 40 Minutes
  • SERVES: 8-10
  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Ingredients

for the, Eggplant
3 medium eggplants
2 tablespoons fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling 1⁄4 Cup Olive Oil

for the, Chermoula
1 cup packed coriander leaves
1⁄2 cup packed parsley leaves
1⁄2 cup mint leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1⁄4 cup preserved lemon juice, or 1/3 cup of regular lemon juice 2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. sweet paprika
2 tsp. harissa paste
1⁄2 tsp. cayenne
1⁄2 cup olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Good pinch of crushed saffron strands

Method

1. First, preheat the oven, to 110°C/fan90°C/gas 1⁄4.

2.Next, cut the eggplant lengthways into 1 cm-thick slices. Cover with salt, layer in a strainer and leave to drain for 40 minutes.

3. While the eggplant is draining, make the chermoula. Put all the ingredients with only 4 tablespoons of the olive oil into a food processor with a good pinch of salt. Blend to a thick paste and stir in enough of the remaining oil to make a sauce.

 

4. Pat the aubergines dry and in batches, brush with oil and in a griddle pan, grill over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes each side, until golden. Keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining slices.

5. When all slices have been grilled, lay on a platter and dollop with chermoula, a sprinkling of coriander and pinch of sea salt.