The secret of the smoked flavour comes from open-flame grilling. Moutabel is regularly found on Middle Eastern tables as part of the starter or mezze selection. This aubergine pate will keep for a couple of days in the fridge. I was first shown how to make this recipe in Istanbul and have tweaked it to my preference. Istanbul has an amazing spice market and a long Jewish heritage. The Jews fleeing the Spanish and Portuguese inquisition were welcomed into the Ottoman Empire, which included Turkey.

Smoked aubergine dip 3c

Denise Phillips’ Smoked Aubergine Paté

Preparation time: 15 minutes   |   Cooking time: 10 minutes  |   Serves: 4 people [divider]

Ingredients:

2 large aubergines

1 small clove garlic, crushed 1/2 teaspoon salt

3-4 tablespoons lemon juice

2 1/2 tablespoons tahini

To garnish: Mint leaves, chopped parsley, pinch cayenne

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Pomegranate seeds

Chopped walnuts

1 red pepper – deseeded and cut into small diamond shapes

Method:

1. Place the aubergines on skewers and grill over an open flame. This is the best way to obtain that smoky flavour. The skin will blacken and wither with heat, keep turning them until the skin is soft all over.

2. Place over the sink and cool with cold water. Peel the skins away and discard. Put the pulp in a strainer to ensure that the excess water is removed. Cut the aubergine in to small pieces and then mash with a fork. It is good to have some texture left.

3. Gradually add the mashed garlic, salt, lemon juice to taste and then the tahini.

To serve: Garnish with the chopped parsley, sprinkle with cayenne pepper, drizzle over olive oil and serve. Top with some pomegranate seeds and chopped walnuts and chopped red pepper. [divider]

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