This salad has a lot of soul, quite a dark soul actually or an old soul perhaps, packed full of smoke and spice it provides something different in summer. Top the salad with pomegranate seeds to add a crunch and a burst of sweetness. I topped the buttermilk dressing with sumac. I love the unique zesty taste of sumac, which makes this salad refreshing on a warm summers evening.
- baby eggplants or 2 large eggplants thinly sliced
- 200g Puy Lentils
- pomegranate seeds
- baby kale or mixed salad
- 1tbspn sherry vinegar
- 1tbspn extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 200ml buttermilk
- 2tbspn tahini (or more if you like a very tahini tasting dressing)
- 1/2 or 1 small garlic clove minced
- (optional: Greek Yogurt)
- sumac (see note)
- 1/2 a lemon, juiced and zest
- mint – very finely chopped
- raddichio – I found red ones and liked the colour it added (see kitchen notes)
- flat-leaf parsley – very finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 180c. Place the baby aubergines in a roasting tin and season with a little salt and pepper and drizzle liberally with oil. Roast for 30min or until soft to the touch.
- For normal size aubergine, heat a frying pan with a little oil until medium hot, add the sliced aubergine in small batches and fry until deep golden – drain and season
- Place the lentils in a saucepan and fill with water. The water level should just stick out above the lentils. Cook for 15-18minutes making sure you don’t overcook the lentils . Once ready drain the water.
- For the Dressing: place the buttermilk with the tahini in a food processor. Add the garlic and lemon juice and whizz. Test the seasoning and adjust according to taste. (see note). Place into a small bowl and scatter with sumac.
- Toss the oil, salt, pepper and vinegar through lentils while still warm – taste and adjust seasoning.
- Just before serving toss through the aubergine.
- Top with the baby kale or small leaf salad.
- Scatter with pomegranate seeds and herbs.
+Raddichio is also called Italian Chicory. You can normally get the light yellow and white variety but sometimes the colourful red and white variety is also available. Raddichio will add a bitter component to a dish. It can be served raw but can also be quickly pan-fried. Classically it will be served with blue cheese and walnuts in a delicious salad.
++The sumac bush, native to the Middle East, produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into coarse powder. Ground sumac is a versatile spice with a tangy lemony flavour. Great on Chicken, Aubergine and I love it on flatbread.
+++For a thicker consistency in the Buttermilk Dressing add a little Greek Yogurt toward the end.