‘the best way to get that really smoky taste is to cook the eggplant on a barbecue or open flame and when a barbecue is not available, directly on to the ring of a gas stove BUT .. it creates a mess and as an alternative roasting eggplants in the oven without cutting or piercing them imparts a delicious mild smoky flavor.
The flesh shrinks in volume resulting in less yield than when you char the skin on an open flame but it remains pale, appears appetizing and makes a great addition to salads.
Do not pierce the skin so that the flesh cooks in its own juices and retains its full flavor’
For the smoked eggplant and spinach salad you will need:
Fresh large tomatoes, sliced thinly and deseeded
Egglants, roasted in the oven at 160C for an hour. Allow to cool completely before piercing and peeling, then chopping
Fresh Spinach leaves, cleaned and stalks removed
And for the tahini and mint dressing you will need:
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons freshly chopped fresh mint
a pinch of dried mint
1/2 teaspoon honey
Salt to season
2 tablespoons olive oil
Mix the garlic, tahini, fresh mint and honey and add the lemon juice. Then add the water, a little at a time, whisking constantly until it is runny. Season. Refrigerate for an hour and it will thicken. Add more water if desired, a little at a time and finally the olive oil. Give it a good stir before using.
Use a clear bowl (I used a trifle bowl) to layer spinach, sliced tomatoes, spinach, smoked chopped eggplant and tahini salad, repeat and finish off with the smoked eggplant pieces and dressing. Allow to rest in the fridge for an hour before serving.