Since hummus is of Middle-Eastern origin and meaning ‘chickpea’ in Arabic, a natural accompaniment is an aubergine, also knows as brinjal or eggplant. Widely used in Middle Eastern cooking, it goes brilliantly with hummus. There are also so many exciting things you can scatter over a bowl or plate of hummus to give it the X factor (not that it particularly needs it), like chopped olives, slices of pepper, sprouts, pickled chillies and paprika. I decided to bake aubergine wedges, getting them as close to a chip as is possible, and scattered over pomegranate seeds, sea salt and a light spray of chopped parsley.
The debate on whether you need to salt the aubergine slices before cooking or not still seems to rage. I have to admit that I abandoned this practice years ago as I find it painfully time-consuming and I had heard so many chefs say it was unnecessary. I still, however, see so many recipes where they get pre-salted, so in order to put my mind fully to rest on the matter, I decided to do my own trial. I cut up one medium aubergine into 8 wedges and salted them, allowing the juices to run out for about an hour. I then dried them with a paper towel and roasted them in the oven with another aubergine which I had not salted.
Preheat the oven to 180C and brush down a baking tray with olive oil. Place the wedges on the baking tray (I started with skin side down to start) and lightly brush the vegetables with a bit more olive oil and bake for 40 minutes. I turned them onto their side about halfway through and then again onto the other side for the last 10 minutes.
*Verdict*….insert drum roll here…….. Absolutely no difference apart from the salty ones being saltier. I shall continue to cook them the way I always have and perhaps snickering a little to myself when I see people going to all the unnecessary effort.
Arrange on a plate with a bowl of the avo hummus and serve with crispy pita toasts or crackers. Spread a layer of the hummus, top with the aubergine wedges, sprinkle over a few pomegranate seeds which pop in your mouth adding a slightly sweet burst of flavour.
For a few of my favourite hummus recipes:
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