Yesterday I went to the market and, to my amazement, I bought some beautiful aubergines at 1 RON a kilo. For all my readers who don't live in Romania, 1 euro is equivalent with approx 4 RON, so 0.25 euro cents for freshly-picked aubergines is a great bargain.
I love aubergines immensely. I used to love them in my childhood when my mother would make them "Romanian style" with mayonnaise and red onions, which was very nice, but could never compare with the magic of moutabal, or Yotam Ottolenghi's Aubergine with buttermilk sauce from Plenty.
Halve the aubergines and place them on a tray upside down. Make sure you also use a baking sheet as it will prevent the aubergines from sticking to the tray. Roast for approx 40 minutes "at which point the flesh should be soft, flavoursome and nicely browned" (as instructed in Plenty).
In the meantime, shred the cucumbers very finely and prepare the yoghurt sauce. Mix the yoghurt with a pinch of cumin seeds, salt & a little lemon juice and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over. Once you remove the aubergines from the oven and they cool down, place them on a plate and start decorating. Pierce the burned flesh with a fork & drizzle the tahini paste over the plant, season with a pinch of salt, zataar, and add the shredded cucumber. Finally drizzle the yoghurt sauce with generosity and top with pomegranate seeds.
So when you eat, follow these instructions: use a small spoon and use the skin as if it were a longer bowl. Whisk the flesh with the yoghurt, the tahini paste, the cucumbers and the slightly sour pomegranates and you will have the most delicious fancy moutabal in the world :)
And don't forget the zataar, so easy to make and so heavenly delicious, the more you sprinkle, the tastier. Enjoy :)