I’m going to go right ahead and toot my own horn. Blow my own trumpet. And why not just give myself a ruddy great slap on the back and tell you that this dish is insanely delicious.
I thought of it one day when I was on holiday. I awoke from a snooze, (I forget if it was my mid morning slumber or my afternoon nap) but anyway the point is that I was dozing and dreaming of food. Nothing new there. But on this occasion I was having one of my recurring dreams. The dreamiest of dreams. Dream-eating my way through everything I ate at the Chiltern Firehouse. And the one dish that dream-me was loving the most, when I awoke was the octopus with aubergine and daikon.
So, I knew what I was going to make for supper that night. It would be a bit of an experiment. Grilled squid with aubergine which would take the form of a baba ghanoush. The smoky, earthiness of the aubergine goes so so well with the lightness and delicate flavour of the squid. To add some texture and another dimension, it would all be set on a bed of tomato, aubergine and chickpea. And oh my goodness, am I pleased I did. What a result.
This is now one of my go-to dishes. It’s simple to make, incredibly delicious, and just a little bit different. Make this for your friends and prepare for them to be wowed. It also hits that magical sweet spot between being light and healthy, but also satisfying and filling. A truly great dish!
It takes no time at all to whip this up, honestly you can have this on the table in 30 mins, or just 10 minutes if you make the baba ghanoush ahead of time.
So without further ado, let me tell you how to make this. This is a relaxed dish, so please don’t worry about exact measurements or having to be too precise. Just go with the flow and make sure you keep tasting all the time.
I’m going to give you the recipe to make more than enough of the baba ghanoush as it keeps in the fridge beautifully for a couple of days and is just so gorgeous you will definitely want more of it!
- 2 x aubergine
- 250 g squid, cleaned, from your fish monger
- 3 large tomatoes
- 2 x tins cooked chickpeas
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoon of tahini (sesame seed paste)
- juice of 1 lemon
- olive oil
- ½ red onion
- pinch of dried chilli flakes
- few sprigs of coriander
- 2 lemon wedges
- For the baba ghanoush: Right, so first things first. Preheat your oven to 200c. This first bit can be done well ahead of time, even the day before if you want to make life a bit easier for yourself.
- Now take one of your aubergine and slice off about ¼ of it and set that ¼ aside for later. Pierce the remaining part of the aubergine and the other whole aubergine, with the tip of a knife and drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil and pinch of salt.
- Pop onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. The outside skin of the aubergines should be gorgeously crispy, verging on burnt and the aubergine should be completely squishy when you stab it with a knife. Once cooked set aside to cool a little.
- Then simply peel your aubergines. The skin should come away very easily. Then plop the squidgy aubergine into the food processor. Add the juice of ½ lemon, 1 clove garlic, the tahini, a generous glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whizz it all together for about twenty seconds until the aubergine is a smooth puree. Now give it a taste. It may need a bit more salt or perhaps a squeeze more lemon, so use your judgement here
- And that’s your baba ghanoush made! Easy as pie…actually much easier than pie. Scoop into a bowl and either set to one side or, cover and keep in the fridge for a few days
- Now, onto how to make your chickpea and tomato stew. Simply chop the remaining aubergine into little cubes and fry them in a little olive oil until crispy. Then tip into a little bowl and set aside for later.
- Now gently fry the red onion and soften in a large frying pan until pale and squishy. Add 1 clove of crushed garlic and fry for a minute.
- Then, roughly chop the tomatoes and add these to the onions and garlic. You can turn the heat up a little and add a mug or so of water. The water will encourage the tomatoes to release their juices and to cook down to create a scrumptious and sumptuous. Season with salt and pepper and just them bubble away for a about 10 minutes until some of the water has bubbled off and the sauce is looking a bit thicker.
- Then drain the chickpeas and add these to the pan. You can also add the aubergine that you fried earlier. Turn the heat down to very low and just let it bubble away gently while you get your squid ready.
- Right, so whether you have a whole squid, or it’s already in calamari rings, both will work beautifully well. I like to use a mixture, as I think it looks pretty…and you know I LOVE the pretty.
- Simply cut up one tube of the squid to open it flat like opening a book. Then cut rough triangle shapes. Make sure you score each piece just a couple of times so that when you cook them they stay flat and don’t roll up.
- Then simply pop them in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and a few dried chilli flakes.
- Heat a griddle pan until it is lovely and hot and then give each bit of squid a little shake to get off the excess oil and place the squid straight onto the griddle.
- Cook for about 1 minute and then flip them over. Try really hard not to overcook as that is when squid had a tendency to taste a bit like you are chewing on a rubber band. As soon as they are cooked, pop them back into the bowl with the olive oil and chilli flakes.
- Now it’s ready to plate!
- Divide the tomato and chickpea stew between two plates. Then scoop on a couple of spoons of baba ghanoush to each plate. Divide the squid between the two plates and garnish with some lemon wedges and coriander sprigs.
Utterly divine. Completely delicious. Totally nutritious.
I may have explained that all a bit long winded-ly (!) but I promise it is really simple and I did it all start to finish in 32 mins!
I hope you love it too x