Recipe: Roast aubergine with tahini and buttery pine nuts

PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:00 10 July 2018

Roasted aubergine Woodfired Canteen-style

Roasted aubergine Woodfired Canteen-style


Summer isn’t just about firing up a barbecue and slapping on some burgers - try roasting seasonal veg on an open fire, says chef Ben Quinn

When we get our hands on the first aubergines it is a true celebration here at Canteen. We get aubergines from growers all over Cornwall from mid-July onwards; they are available from Spain all year round but of course locally grown is best!

Another incredibly versatile vegetable (or, to be pedantic, a fruit as the aubergine is technically a berry) the natural smokiness of the aubergine lends itself perfectly to our style of food, which is often influenced by Middle Eastern cooking.

At various events over the years, such as Wilderness Festival and Meatopia, we have found ourselves cooking alongside the likes of Yotam Ottolenghi and the team behind Honey and Co – both sources of inspiration for our ongoing obsession with the flavours of the Middle East. Cooking together creates firm friendships, and the following recipe is something we learnt from our dear friend Sarrit from Honey and Co.

Leave the barbecue in the shed and try some open fire cookingLeave the barbecue in the shed and try some open fire cooking

It’s a simple but delicious dish which marries smoky aubergine, a hit of chilli and rich, crunchy pinenuts – topped off with refreshing mint. Serve as a side dish to barbecued meats (especially good with lamb) or with a simple leaf salad and a bowl of buttered Cornish new potatoes.

Serving up Middle Eastern cuisine at Porthmeor Beach in St IvesServing up Middle Eastern cuisine at Porthmeor Beach in St Ives

Recipe: Roast aubergine with tahini and buttery pine nuts

Ingredients (serves 4)

• 2 large firm aubergines

• 2 red chillies

• 1 good glug of Secret Orchard Cider vinegar

• 1 good glug of Mother’s Garden Olive Oil

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 3 tbsp light tahini paste

• 1 garlic clove

• A handful of pinenuts

• A knob of butter

• A handful of fresh mint


1. Warm a griddle pan or light a barbecue

2. Slice the aubergines in half length-ways.

3. Chop the red chilli into thin strips and marinade with the combined cider vinegar and olive oil

4. Grill or barbecue the aubergine until soft all the way through and charred on the outside.

5. Once the aubergine is cooked, rest it in the chilli marinade.

6. While the aubergine is resting, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan until golden brown.

7. Take the pan off the heat and pop the butter in the pan, it will sizzle and melt.

8. Put the tahini in a mixing bowl and add the garlic using a grater to mince it.

9. Season liberally! Then slowly whisk in cold water - the tahini will stiffen up and finally transform into a wonderful glossy liquid the consistency of double cream.

10. To plate, simply put the aubergine on the base of a plate, drizzle with the tahini and marinading juice, sprinkle with the buttery pine nuts and scatter with mint.

About the chef: Ben Quinn

Chef Ben Quinn of Canteen Cornwall has become known for his creative, wholesome approach to cooking Cornwall’s finest ingredients. Inspiration for every season awaits as we discover what’s on the menu this month.

Contact @woodfiredcanteen /

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