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    Charred little gem with smoked aubergine & anchovy sauce

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    Charred little gem with smoked aubergine & anchovy sauce

    • Preparation time: 15 minutes + cooling and draining
    • Cooking time: approx. 45 minutes (depending on aubergine cooking method)
    • Total time: 1 hour

    Serves: 4


    2 little gem lettuce, sliced lengthways, each half cut into 3 long wedges
    2 tsp olive oil

    For the sauce
    3 aubergines
    50g Greek-style yogurt
    3 tbsp lemon juice
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    2 anchovy fillets, drained and roughly chopped
    60ml olive oil

    For the nuts and seeds
    2 tsp olive oil
    20g pine nuts
    20g pumpkin seeds
    ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
    20g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated, to serve
    1 tsp finely grated unwaxed lemon zest, to serve


    1. There are two ways to char the aubergines. Put them directly over the flame on your gas hob or barbecue and leave for 15 minutes, turning throughout (using long tongs) so all sides get charred. Or put a griddle pan on the gas hob and, once smoking hot, place the aubergines on top. Char for about 40 minutes, turning throughout so all sides get charred and collapse. For this method, pierce the aubergines a few times at the start with a small, sharp knife.

    2. Once charred, transfer the aubergines to a colander set over a bowl. When cool enough to handle, slit in half lengthways, scoop out the flesh and set aside to drain for about 1 hour. The skin and stem can be discarded. Transfer the flesh to a food processor with all the remaining sauce ingredients, along with ¼ tsp salt and a grind of black pepper. Blitz for 1 minute, until completely smooth.

    3. Add the oil for the nuts to a small frying pan and place over a medium heat. Add the nuts and seeds and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer to a separate bowl, stir through the Worcestershire sauce and set aside.

    4. Just before serving, heat the griddle pan until smoking hot. Mix together the little gem wedges and oil and season lightly. Toss to combine, then place on the griddle for 2 minutes, turning the wedges halfway through, so both sides are nicely charred. Divide the aubergine sauce between four plates and place the little gem on top. Sprinkle over the nuts, cheese and lemon zest and serve.

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