Two-Tomato and Spiced Aubergine Salad with Toasted Pine Kernels

This is a part-cooked salad that can be prepared well in advance. Serve for a light lunch accompanied by good bread, and a green salad as well if you like.

Ingredients

  • approximately 550 g/ lb aubergines
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 4-5 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • teaspoons tomato purée
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 2-4 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 450-550 g/1-1¼ lb well-flavoured tomatoes
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon pine kernels
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Method

Cut the unpeeled aubergines lengthways into quarters and then into 2.5-5cm/1-2in chunks. Put the aubergine pieces into a saucepan with the white wine vinegar, a good sprinkling of salt, and water to cover. Cover the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for only 4-5 minutes, until soft, then drain well. Slice the sun-dried tomatoes across in thin strips.

Now put the crushed garlic, sherry vinegar, paprika, cumin, tomato purée and sunflower oil into a bowl, adding cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Stir to mix and then add the hot aubergine and the strips of sun-dried tomato and toss gently to coat in the dressing. Leave to become cold.

Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes thinly and arrange on a large flat serving dish, leaving a space in the centre. When the aubergine mixture is cold, spoon it into the empty space, ensuring the mixture comes right up to the edge of the tomatoes. Slice the basil leaves across in thin strips and scatter them over the tomatoes.

Put the pine kernels in a dry frying pan over a high heat and toss around for a moment or two, just to brown. Then sprinkle them over the aubergines. Sprinkle the tomatoes with sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Do not refrigerate. Just before serving, drizzle olive oil all over the tomatoes and a little over the aubergines.

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