You can use your gas burner on the stove to blacken the eggplants, but, as always, live fire gives an unmatched depth of flavour to everything it touches. We like to serve this warm, or at room temperature, but definitely not cold.
Time 1 hour
2 large eggplants extra virgin olive oil 1 lemon sea salt freshly cracked black pepper
2 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted 2 tbsp black sesame seeds, toasted 1 tbsp sunflower seeds, toasted 2 tbsp buckwheat, toasted 2 tbsp hazelnuts, toasted and crushed 1 tbsp sea salt
150g (5.3 oz) labne (store-bought or made using our recipe, below)
Pierce the skin of the eggplants to stop them exploding on the fire. Over a high flame, grill the eggplants quickly all over. We’re not looking to cook the eggplants all the way through at this stage, we just want the skins completely burnt.
Put the eggplants in a bowl and cover it tightly with clingfilm. Allow them to cool to room temperature. This does two things: allows the vegetable to finish its cooking gently, and it seals in the smoky flavours developed in the charring.
When the eggplants are cool, peel and scrape off the burnt skins using your fingers or a small paring knife. The skin should come away easily, without too much damage to the flesh. Do not, repeat, do not rinse the eggplants with water. It’s better to be left with a little bit of skin on the eggplant than ruin its flavour and texture by getting it wet.
Lay the eggplants out on a serving plate, and give them a little push here and there to make little places for the labne to nestle in. Season the flesh with a generous amount of salt and black pepper, then a good slug of the olive oil and a squeeze of the lemon.
Mix all the toasted seeds, buckwheat, hazelnuts and salt together.
Top the eggplant with the labne, then sprinkle over the toasted seed mix and serve.
Time 1 hour
This labne (hung yoghurt) will keep for at least a week in your fridge.
Line a colander or metal sieve with muslin cloth, then spoon the yoghurt into the centre. Draw the sides of the cloth up over to cover the yoghurt. Suspend the sieve or colander over another bowl to catch the whey.
Leave for a night in the fridge (or two; it’ll get thicker the longer you leave it) to drain off the excess moisture in the yoghurt. You’re looking for something about the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise.
Whisk the olive oil into the strained yoghurt and refrigerate until it’s ready to serve.