Grilled aubergine, black garlic tahini and pickled cherries

Smokey aubergine is complemented by sweet and sour cherries and smooth, creamy tahini

Chef Bryan Lee Weaver is Executive Chef at Butcher and Bee, Nashville. He says: “I always prefer to use some of the smaller heirloom varieties that grow in Tennessee, but the generic big ole’ eggplants work well for this as well.  We finish them on a wood fired grill until they are very charred (like black). If the grill isn’t an option, just cook them longer in the oven.” You will have black garlic tahini and cherries over but they will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. 
  • Heat oven to 220°C.
  • Halve the aubergine and scored the flesh side like a checkerboard. Cover them in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes or until fork tender. If you have barbecue or wood-fired grill finish them on there until very charred (black all over). If not, cook them for longer in the oven. Put to one side. 
  • Peel the black garlic and process in a food processor and add the tahini sauce. Process again until smooth. 
  • Place in a bowl and fold in the toasted pine nuts. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • To make the cherries, put the rice vinegar, water, sugar, salt and sambal in a saucepan with the cherries and bring to a boil.  immediately turn off, leave to cool to room temperature and refrigerate for 2 hours until chilled.  
  • To serve: halve the aubergine. Place it on the plate and spread the black garlic tahini over the whole surface in a thick layer. Dot with the pickled cherries. 
  • I like to garnish with some more pine nuts, a lot of olive oil (like a pool in the bottom of the bowl), chervil and a pinch of aleppo chile flakes. 
Editor’s note: you can buy sambal, (a Malaysian sauce) online and in some supermarkets.

1 large aubergine

Olive oil

For the black garlic tahini

896g tahini

1 head of black garlic

70 g toasted pine nuts, plus more to serve

For the pickled cherries:

250g dried cherries

240ml rice vinegar

480ml filtered water

125g sugar

60g salt

80g sambal

Salt and pepper

To serve:

Extra virgin olive oil

Chervil or tarragon

Aleppo chilli flakes

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