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How to Make: Grilled Harissa Aubergine with Sunflower Seed Butter

 

One of three restaurants from the Gladwin Brothers, Rabbit focuses predominantly on “wild food”, most of which is either hunted or foraged. Still in season (at the time of writing), Rabbit’s Sussex grilled harissa aubergine recipe also features an Egyptian-inspired cinnamon dukkah spice mix, sunflower seed butter and salsa verde. With various elements, the dish is somewhat simple to recreate at home, and is – above all – a delicious meat-free dish for Autumn.

Ingredients

Aubergines, 1 box, quartered lengthways

Table salt, 100g

For the dukkah

Sunflower seeds, 300g

Cinnamon, 45g, blitzed

Sesame seeds, 240g

Coriander seeds, 45g

Cumin seeds, 45g

Black pepper, 30g

Sea salt flakes, 30g

For the harissa paste

Oil, 100ml

Garlic, 12 cloves

Red chillies, 6

Fennel seeds, 2tsp

Coriander seeds, 2tsp

Whole cardamom pods, 6

Cane sugar, 200g

Red wine vinegar, 200ml

Tomato paste, 50g

Lemon, zest and juice of 4

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the sunflower seed butter

Sunflower seeds, 1kg

Garlic, 5 cloves

Confit garlic oil, 50ml

Salt, to taste

Hot water, +/- 500ml

For the salsa verde

Mint, ½ bunch

Parsley, ½ bunch

Chives, ½ bunch

Castor sugar, 2tbsp

Limes, juice of 2

Virgin rapeseed oil, 1 cup

Method

Salt the quartered aubergines for 30 minutes, then wash and thoroughly dry.

Meanwhile make the harissa: reduce the sugar and vinegar together by 2/3rds. Toast all the spices and then blitz together with the oil, chilli and garlic. Cook off the oil spice mixture for 5 minutes until aromatic and fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the reduced gastric (reduction of red wine vinegar and sugar) and reduce to a thick paste. Finish with lemon juice and season to taste.

For the sunflower seed butter: add the oil, sunflower seeds and garlic to the Thermomix and pulse until it starts to break down. Slowly add the hot water until a butter consistency is achieved. Season to taste.

For the salsa verde: add all the ingredients to the Thermomix and blitz until a runny pesto consistency is formed.

Marinate the aubergines in the harissa paste for 2 hours, grill to achieve dark grill marks on all sides and then cook at 180 degrees for 5 minutes.

Further information on Rabbit can be found here.

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