Eggplant salad with tahini-yoghurt dressing

Serves 4
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Most people are acquainted with tahini - the Middle Eastern paste made from crushed sesame seeds - through its use in dips such as hummus. But it is also common to find it thinned down with water and used as a base for sauces. In this form it can often be a little bitter for Western palates, but partnered with creamy yoghurt, and flavoured with garlic and lemon juice, it becomes divinely smooth and creamy.

Most people are acquainted with tahini - the Middle Eastern paste made from crushed sesame seeds - through its use in dips such as hummus. But it is also common to find it thinned down with water and used as a base for sauces. In this form it can often be a little bitter for Western palates, but partnered with creamy yoghurt, and flavoured with garlic and lemon juice, it becomes divinely smooth and creamy.

2 eggplants (aubergines)
salt
100ml olive oil
150ml Tahini-Yoghurt Sauce (below)
1/ 3 of a cup parsley leaves
1/ 2 small purple onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
sumac (spice)

Cut the eggplant in half and then into long, chip-like wedges. Put them in a colander and sprinkle the flesh with salt. After 20 minutes rinse under cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Fry the eggplant in the oil, turning from time to time, until they are coloured a rich, deep-golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper. Arrange the eggplant on a serving plate and drizzle generously with the dressing.

In a separate bowl, combine the parsley, onion and tomato with the tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and scatter loosely over the eggplant. Serve sprinkled with sumac and an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Tahini-Yoghurt Sauce (makes 250ml)
180ml plain yoghurt
60ml tahini paste
juice of up to 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed with 1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine the yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice and garlic paste. Thin with a little water if necessary - the sauce should have the consistency of thin honey.

Taste and adjust the flavours as necessary. What you are aiming for is a good balance of sharp yoghurt and lemon with garlic and nutty tahini. Refrigerate and use within two to three days.

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