This salad is a firm favorite at The Chutzpah at Phantom Forest. Many people who have said that they don’t like aubergine, now enjoy it after eating this salad.
The trick of this dish is in the dressing, and you can substitute the aubergine with other griddle vegetables, for example baby marrows, tomatoes, etc.
I don’t salt mine first. I do, however, chargrill them and then place them warm into the dressing so they can absorb all the flavours. Always oil the aubergines and not the griddle pan, otherwise they you will get smoked out. The griddle pan must also be really hot and I cook my aubergine quite black as I find that charred taste is fabulous with the sweet, spicy tang of the dressing.
Ingredients for Pomegranate & Hazelnut Dressing:
1 cup reduced pomegranate juice to equal a thick molasses
1 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 red chili, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup chopped coriander
1/2 cup chopped parsley flat leaf
1/2 cup honey
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup olive oil
Juice and zest of two lemons
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup dressed pomegranate rubies
Mix all ingredients together, and check seasoning. The dressing should be quite sharp with a hint of chili and a sweet finish.
The ‘pop’ of the fresh pomegranate really makes this dressing. I de-seed and freeze when pomegranates are in season, so that I can use them throughout the year, but you can also use dried pomegranate seeds.