Moruños spiced roast aubergine

An incredibly tasty tapa that’s been on and off Bar 44’s menus for years now. It definitely ticks the box of being a flavour packed vegan dish, but also one that became a best seller for all customers. It’s inspired by Bar 44’s love of Andalucia, and the marriage of classic Spain meeting the Arabic past of that region. Aubergines are abundant in the Granada region, and the moruños spice mix is a blend of Spanish and North African spices still highly evident in the region. Traditionally it’s a marinade for lamb or pork skewers, but works fantastically here.
Miel de Caña is essentially a sugar can molasses from the same region, like black treacle – its rich, sweet, and hard to stop eating, going so well in savoury and spiced dishes. Marcona almonds are my favourite in the world. We use Catalan ones, and they give another flavour profile to the dish as well as texture. And the pomegranate? Well Granada, the city, actually means pomegranate! So it’s a no brainer, plus it adds a burst of sharp fruit to the dish.

Instructions

For the aubergine:
1. Pre heat your oven to 190 degrees fan assisted.

2. Peel, slice and chop the garlic as finely as you can.

3. Add a tiny pinch of sea salt, then put your knife on an angle and scrape the garlic and salt mix together, until it starts forming a paste.

4. Place the garlic paste into a mixing bowl, then add the olive oil, coriander, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano and salt/pepper together. Whisk vigorously until the marinade is combined.

5. Add in your prepared aubergines and mix really well. Make sure the marinade gets deep into the scored flesh side of the aubergine. Leave for 30 minutes.

6. Roast your aubergines on a flat baking tray for 25 minutes.

For the almond:

  1. 1. Place all the marcona almonds and the water in a blender. Squeeze the lemon juice in and add a good pinch of sea salt. Blend for at least 3 minutes, until ultra smooth and not grainy.
  1. 2. Toast your flaked almonds in a dry pan until golden. Set aside.

For the pomegranate:

  1. 1. Cut in half. Hold one half face down into your palm, over a bowl.

  1. 2. With a spoon, rolling pin, or anything, bash the life out of the pomegranate!

  1. 3. All the fruit should fall into your hand and the bowl. Repeat with the other half.

  1. 4. Add the vinegar, Slice your parsley and mint – finely or roughly, it’s up to you. Stir through to make a lovely pomegranate dressing.

To finish the dish:

Plate the aubergine and almond purée as you wish but keeping them separate.

Dress the aubergine with the pomegranate dressing.

Add your miel de caña, don’t be shy with it.

Finish the dish with your toasted almonds for crunch.

  1. Enjoy!

Bar 44

Bar 44 was founded by Owen Morgan, in 2002. Having fallen in love with Spanish food, drink and culture over time, he wanted to bring his favourite tapas dishes and a slice of modern Spanish culture to the UK. Tom Maynard joined Bar 44 six years ago after working for Caprice group in London for 5 years; he is now Head Chef at Bar 44, Bristol. Their menu focuses on impeccably sourced ingredients served with modern touch and a lot of Spanish passion. Support Bar 44 during these times and buy a voucher to be used for a night to remember at one of their restaurants.

Preparation Time: 30 mins
Serves: 4-6 as a tapa

Ingredients

2 medium sized aubergines – cut lengthways into ¼’s, keep stalk in tact. Criss cross score the flesh with a sharp pointed knife

40ml extra virgin olive oil (Rama 44 if possible, available at www.bar44.co.uk/shop)

2 medium cloves of garlic

3g ground coriander

3g smoked paprika – we use dulce, which is sweet/mild. You can use picante/hot for personal preference

2g ground cumin

1 teaspoon of fresh picked oregano leaves

large pinch of sea salt

8 big turns of the peppermill

Miel de caña for drizzling (widely available online or in good delis)

125g salted Marcona almonds

110ml tap water, for blending

¼ of a lemon

1 pomegranate

2 sprigs flat leaf parsley

6-8 large mint leaves

2 tablespoons of moscatel, cava, or

white wine vinegar

handful of flaked almonds

PAIR WITH

Estrella Galicia 0.0

Estrella Galicia 0.0 is an alcohol-free beer and boasts the golden colour of a typical Pilsner style beer. It has a pleasantly sweet and slightly bitter refreshing taste.