I was reading through my Plenty More cookbook by Ottolenghi when I saw a beautiful and intriguing recipe for Aubergine with Black Garlic. I had never used black garlic before, but I knew I wanted to try it, so I started to learn more about black garlic.
Black Garlic is pure garlic that has been deeply caramelized, but is entirely free from additives and flavorings. It is traditionally made by placing garlic in earthenware and baking it in the sun for about 40 days. Now, South West Garlic Farm, who kindly provided me with the black garlic I used, don't have to rely on the sun and instead cook the garlic at a low steady temperature for 40 days.
As the garlic caramelizes, it develops a rich umami flavor that is reminiscent of soy sauce with a molasses sweetness and a rich licorice aftertaste. Some describe the taste of black garlic like a high quality balsamic vinegar because it also has a citrus-like tang.
On the outside, it looks like garlic with an old parchment paper skin. But inside, the cloves are obviously black and are dense and gummy to the touch. It's pungent; and to me, smells like the dried shiitake mushrooms from a Chinese herb shop. As you would expect with a strong Camembert, even though my black garlic is stored in a plastic tupperware, I can smell it every time I open the refrigerator.
This recipe for Black Garlic Aubergine toast is inspired by Ottolengi's recipe. The black garlic yogurt dressing is straight from his recipe, as is the method for roasting the aubergine. I left out the chilies, basil, tarragon and additional garlic from his recipe though. Instead, I added tomatoes and feta. To make it perfect for brunch too, I served it on toast.
It's delicious and colorful. And in case you haven't worked with black garlic before, wise words from Ottolenghi: "don't be scared of black garlic".
Ottolenghi Inspired Black Garlic and Aubergine ToastPrint Recipe Save RecipeSaved!
For the roasted aubergines (eggplants) and tomatoes
- 3 medium aubergines - sliced to ½ inch (1 ½ cm) thick
- 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes (about 20 cherry tomatoes)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
For the black garlic dressing
- 8 large black garlic cloves (35 grams)
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice (this is about the juice of ¼ of a small lemon)
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ cup feta cheese - crumbled
- 1 handful fresh dill - chopped, for serving
- 4 large slices crusty bread (preferably sourdough)
- 1 small knob butter (for toasting)
- Preheat the oven to 480°F/250°C. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper (depending on the size of your oven, you may need two trays).
- Roast the aubergines and tomatoes. In a medium bowl, place the aubergine rounds and tomatoes with the olive oil, salt and black pepper. Mix well and spread out on the baking tray(s). Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden-brown and completely soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Make the black garlic dressing. Place the black garlic coves in the small bowl of a food processor with olive oil, 2 tablespoons of yogurt, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Blitz until smooth to form a rough paste. Transfer it to a medium bowl and mix in the rest of the yogurt. Set the dressing in the refrigerator until ready for serving.
- To serve. Butter both sides of each slice of toast and grill both sides on a grill pan or skillet until lightly toasted. Cut each slice of toast in half. Evenly distribute the roasted aubergine and tomatoes on the toasts. Evenly distribute on the feta cheese and dill. Carefully spoon on the black garlic dressing over each slice of toast.