The much-anticipated “barbecue summer” may have turned out to be no more than a meteorologist’s fantasy, but I still live in hope that the odd sunny afternoon may see my darling husband out in the garden, tongs and spatula in hand, slaving over some hot coals. In the event of such an occasion, I have a delicious salad — something a bit different — that can double up as a starter and also goes well with grilled fish or chicken should the heavens open after all.
Serves 6-8. Serve the same day; leftovers keep 2 days in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. This makes an elegant and refreshing starter for a summer supper party or to serve at barbecue. It is also very pretty with shades of crimson, purple and creamy white, with a mouth-watering blend of flavours.
● 4 medium red peppers
● 1 kg baby aubergines
● 5 tbsp olive oil
● 50g chopped pistachio nuts.
For the dressing
● 225 ml Greek yoghurt
● 1 clove garlic, crushed
● 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
● 1 ½ tbsp chopped, fresh oregano
● 1 teasp ground cumin
● 2 teasp runny honey
● 1 teasp salt
● 15 grinds black pepper
● Halve the peppers, and remove seeds and membranes. Grill them, skin side up, until the skin blisters and blackens (about 15 minutes).
● Cover with paper towels until cool enough to handle, then peel away the skin and slice the peppers thickly.
● Cut each aubergine in half lengthways.
● Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a sauté pan and gently fry one third of the aubergines until browned all over and very soft.
● Repeat with the other two thirds of aubergine in two more batches. Drain on absorbent paper.
● To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
● To serve, spread a quarter of the dressing on a serving plate, top with a third of the aubergines and then a third of the peppers.
● Repeat, layering twice more, ending with the remaining dressing. Sprinkle with the pistachios and serve.