Grilled aubergines with olive oil garlic & mint
100ml olive oil
1 garlic clove
2 large aubergines, sliced 1 cm thick lengthways
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh mint leaves and chopped
fresh garlic, to finish
This is one of those dishes at Comptoir that mixes my heritage with the sort of mezze I want to see on my table. You won’t find this in Lebanon even though the cuisine is studded with extraordinary aubergine dishes. I eat far too much garlic, if that’s possible, and aubergines and the pepperiness of garlic pair so well.
Crush the garlic clove roughly – not to a paste – and stir this through half the oil.
Heat a griddle or frying pan until hot. Brush the aubergines on both sides with the remaining oil, then place these on the hot griddle and cook until you start to see wisps of smoke from the edges. Check to see that they’re starting to char without turning utterly black.
Don’t be afraid of them burning, you need it to create the rich smoky flavour. Once cooked, you can remove the aubergine slices to a plate, season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with more oil. When all the slices are cooked, sprinkle the top with chopped fresh garlic, and a scattering of mint leaves.
This is a simple dish that you can get creative with. You can lightly spice the oil with ground cardamom, cumin and cinnamon, or lightly sprinkle the grilled aubergines with spices while they’re warm.
Other vegetables work well here, like courgettes, roasted peeled peppers, or peeled and boiled artichoke hearts.