How about a black garlic recipe today? Have you tried using this amazing ingredient in your cooking? You gotta give it a go if you haven’t already.
The Persian roasted aubergine dip (mirza ghasemi) is one of my all-time favourite dishes. I love the combination of the soft smokey aubergine pulp, garlic, tomatoes and the scrambled eggs. When I tasted black garlic the first thing that came to my mind was to give it a try in mirza ghasemi. The experiment with black garlic turned really good results. My guests that night mopped up all of that very quickly and made lots of compliments.
Black garlic originates from east Asia where they hugely believe in its health benefits. It’s now becoming more and more popular in other countries too. Whole bulbs look quite like smoked garlic but the cloves are very dark, almost black, and have a creamy consistency. They taste sweet with a hint of balsamic vinegar and are much milder than normal garlic.
Black garlic tastes better when it is lightly sautéed in olive oil before mixing with the aubergine pulp. I like to scramble the eggs before folding them into the aubergine mixture but you can also mix lightly beaten eggs gently through the aubergine mix and cook until set.
This lovely dip is a great accompaniment to many dry white wines.
To serve 4-6 people as appetizer you will need the following ingredients:
Tomato and fennel salad doesn’t really need a recipe to make, does it? But you’ll probably want to read this post if you want to make the delicious pistachio pesto I used to dress my tomato and fennel salad.
The pesto dressing makes all the difference in this salad. The peppery tang of the summer/winter savoury/savory (marzeh in Persian), mint and pistachio pesto really complements the sweetness of the tomatoes.
Summer savoury (and its perennial relative winter savoury) are hard to find in many countries unless one grows them at home but in Iran summer savoury is sold in big bunches by every greengrocer. If you don’t have summer/winter savoury I recommend using a mixture of mint and fresh thyme. The sharpness of thyme works quite well too.
Tomatoes didn’t show up in Iran until late 19th or early 20th century but when they did they completely took over the cuisine. It’s hard to imagine Persian cooking without tomatoes or tomato puree/paste.
One of my earliest memories is of my grandma boiling sieved tomatoes in huge pots in summer to make tomato paste. High tomato prices in Iran can even have political ramifications, seriously! So this salad is not Persian in form but quite Persian in spirit!
I made my salad with some lovely heritage tomatoes I found in a market but any nice juicy sweet tomato will work. Cherry tomatoes of any colour will work nicely too. Fennel bulbs add crunch to this salad but sliced cucumbers can be used instead if fennel isn’t available or in season where you live.
I made my pesto with raw pistachios but roasted pistachios also make a lovely pesto. I like to sprinkle chopped pistachios on the salad for a bit of extra crunch, too.
There is no cheese in my salad but feel free to add your favourite cheese. I recommend crumbled Feta or Bulgarian cheeses or cubed grilled halloumi. My favourite British cheese to use in this salad is white Cheshire. It’s so incredibly delicious.
Ingredients to serve 4