On Friday my husband called me to let me know that his Buddhist teacher, Geshe Phende, and two of our friends were going to pop in for a quick bite before going off to some early evening teachings. Luckily I had been showing my housekeeper how to make that roasted aubergine and sun-dried tomato pesto I blogged about last week, so all I needed to do was cook up some pasta and throw together a salad. The salad was a variation on my old faithful Asian style slaw salad.
Everyone was extremely complimentary of the meal and the Geshe said that he thought I should present a TV cooking show as I spoke so convincingly about my food. Coming from a world renowned teacher I thought that was high praise indeed!
I have (naturally) adapted the recipe to suit my needs and tastes. The yield is pretty high, so you may want to halve it the first time, to see if you really like it. I have been overjoyed to have a large jar of the left over pesto in the fridge. I have spread it on crackers, thinned it down with coconut milk and combined it with lentils for a great lentil stew and am sure the rest will be polished off in no time. It would also freeze well.
Roasted aubergine, almond and sundried tomato pesto
Salt for scattering over the aubergines
100g raw almonds
200g of sundried tomatoes, rehydrated with hot water
80ml olive oil
80ml water (more if needed)
½ cup sultanas or raisins
½ Tbsp sumac
50g goats cheese or feta (optional)
1 good handful of fresh herbs (mint, basil & parsley would be ideal), roughly chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 230°C and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
Slice the aubergine into slices. Layer the slices in a colander, sprinkling salt between the layers. Allow the aubergines to sweat and release their moisture for about an hour. Remove from the colander, wash thoroughly and pat dry on a clean tea towel.
Brush a large baking tray with olive oil. Arrange the slices of eggplant on the trays and brush with more olive oil. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes until soft and golden.
In a small mixing bowl blend all the ingredients except the herbs to a coarse paste with a stick blender. Add extra water or olive oil if you want a thinner consistency. Stir in the herbs and season to taste with pepper. You shouldn’t need extra salt.
This pesto can be served either on pasta, as a spread on bread or on a baked potato.