Confit aubergine, aubergine purée, smoked ricotta

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Preparation info

  • Serves 8

    starter portions
    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Mile 8: A book about cooking

Mile 8

By David Higgs

Published 2018

  • About
Leinster Hall

My first trip to New York City, and the first restaurant I ate at was Indochine. We got this plate of confit aubergine in lime and ginger. I have been trying to replicate it ever since. Make sure you have a freshly grilled piece of focaccia ready with this.

Ingredients

Confit aubergine

  • 4 Japanese (long) aubergines
  • 500 ml olive oil/canola blend
  • 500 ml lime juice
  • 10 limes – the zest
  • 1 root of ginger – peeled

Aubergine purée

  • 400 g aubergine (cooked weight)
  • 1 g garlic – grated on a microplane
  • 25 ml lemon juice
  • 5 g salt
  • 85 ml yoghurt

Smoked ricotta

  • 160 g ricotta
  • 1 lemon – the zest
  • 35 g pinenuts – dry toasted over medium heat until golden
  • sumac – to sprinkle
  • olive oil – to drizzle
  • lime zest – to finish
  • 8 pieces Evan’s focaccia grilled – 1 per serving

Method

Slice the aubergines into 3 cm-wide rounds and place in a tray. To make the confit aubergine, combine the oil, lime juice and zest in a jug. Grate in the ginger and pour the liquid over the tray of aubergines. Keep the tray on top of a warm oven until the aubergines are soft. Refrigerate for a few days and warm just before plating.

To make the purée, grill the aubergines whole until the skin is black and the flesh is completely soft. Remove from the grill and slice in half to scoop out the flesh. It is important to work with the aubergines while they are hot to avoid them becoming bitter. Add the garlic, lemon juice and salt to taste. Place the mixture in a Thermomix jug with the yoghurt and blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Crumble the ricotta onto a perforated tray and place in a smoker and hot smoke at between 70–80°C for about 5 minutes. Taste before removing, as you don’t want a bitter flavour – be careful not to oversmoke. Grate lemon zest over the ricotta once you’ve removed it from the smoker.

To assemble, place one half of a warmed confit aubergine, 40 g aubergine purée and 20 g smoked ricotta on each hot plate. Sprinkle with 4 g toasted pinenuts and sumac, drizzle with olive oil and finish with fresh lime zest. Serve with freshly grilled focaccia.