I learned to make this delectable purée years ago in a little Turkish restaurant above the covered market in Istanbul. The aubergine skin is burnt black to impart a subtle smoky taste to the soft flesh within. This aubergine pâté is far softer than most pâtés, and makes a good first course piled on to thin toast. As the flavour is so delicate, it is better to use sunflower rather than olive oil which can be overpowering. This quantity.
Put 2 medium-sized, unpeeled aubergines under the hottest possible grill for 15–25 minutes, turning them once or twice until the skin is charred. Plunge the hot aubergines into cold water.
Peel off the skins with your fingers and discard. Put the flesh into a fine nylon sieve and press with a wooden spoon to push out as much liquid as possible. Put the drained flesh into a food processor and add 1tablespoonlemon juice.
Whizz together, adding 3-5tablespoonssunflower oil, alittle at a time until smooth. The more oil you add, the lighter the texture. Season with salt and black pepper. Spoon into a dish and chill until ready to serve. Sprinkle with chopped herbs.