I love this dish, and I cook it very often in my household. My partner is not a fan of eggplant, which is much to my dismay, but I have worked out that he will eat it like this. Smothered in a tasty spiced butter while it cooks in the oven, the eggplant goes the most beautiful dark caramelised colour. Topped with a yoghurt sauce with plenty of garlic heat, heaps of fresh herbs and toasted nuts, along with some quick pickled red onion – this dish is a crowd pleaser, great as a side or the main event. It works just fine with most varieties of eggplant, you may need to cook shorter or longer depending on their size. You can be very flexible with the herbs and nuts that you use, I have tried almost every combination under the sun and can confirm, always yummy.
For the eggplant:
- 3 baby eggplant
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Juice from half a lemon
For the Garlicky Yoghurt:
- 80ml Greek yoghurt
- Juice from half a lemon
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely grated
For the quick pickled red onion:
- 1 small red onion
- 3-4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Good pinch of salt
- Handful flaked almonds
- Handful of pistachios
- Handful of fresh mint leaves
- Handful of fresh oregano leaves
- Handful of fresh thyme leaves
- First up, preheat your oven. 200 C and with a rack placed in the centre position.
- Prepare your easy quick pickled red onions. Thinly slice your red onion and place in a small bowl or jar. Squeeze in lemon juice, add vinegar and sprinkle in a good pinch of salt. Toss it all around and leave to sit. Give it a jiggle every 15-20 mins or so to make sure every bit of onion is getting plenty of time with the acids.
- Next step is to make our garlicky yoghurt. Combine yoghurt, lemon juice and finely grated garlic well in a small bowl and set aside.
- Now on to the eggplant. Cut your eggplants long ways and then score the fleshy side with a sharp knife. Lay skin side down onto a lined baking tray.
- In a small bowl combine melted butter, paprika, lemon juice, cumin, coriander and soy sauce. Mix well to combine.
- Using a pastry brush or similar, brush the butter mixture onto the fleshy side of the eggplant and place into oven for 45 minutes. Every 15 minutes, brush again with the butter mixture. If your butter mixture seizes up, place in microwave for 10-15 second bursts until it’s nice and liquid again.
- When your eggplant has about 5 minutes remaining, scatter your nuts out onto a baking sheet and place in oven for the remainder of the cooking time.
- Remove both the eggplant and the toasted nuts from the oven. Your eggplant should be nice and tender with a deep caramel coloured top, it will look a bit crispy and golden and it should smell divine! The nuts should be lightly toasted and fragrant.
- To serve, place your eggplant halves onto a serving plate and drizzle with your garlicky yoghurt. Top with your pickled red onion, chopped toasted nuts and fresh herbs.
- This dish is great warm or cold, so is a good one to make ahead.
Clementine Day is a self-taught cook who lives and works on Wurundjeri Land in Melbourne, Australia. She runs Some Things I Like To Cook, an evolving project that celebrates the joy of food, drawing a meaningful connection between food, people and play.
With a relaxed and unfussy approach, Clementine’s recipes empower even the most inexperienced of cooks to create memorable experiences based around the simple act of eating and entertaining. She is passionate about encouraging others to have fun and trust their intuition in the kitchen, and her candid, refreshing approach to recipe writing feels like having a supportive best friend alongside as your cooking companion.
Clementine works on collaborative projects with a vast array of different creatives. This includes recipe development and contribution, dining projects, food styling, private lunches and dinners, and creative food publications. In 2020, Clementine released her first cookbook Coming Together, a collection of recipes based on six long lunches she hosted with friends, which she cooked, photographed, styled and self-published.
Follow Clementine on Instagram here.