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Harissa Aubergine, Sunflower Seed Butter, Salsa Verde, Cinnamon Dukkah
Harissa Aubergine, Sunflower Seed Butter, Salsa Verde, Cinnamon Dukkah
Small plate
Over 2 hours

This inventive harissa-marinated aubergine recipe from The Shed in Notting Hill combines this aromatic, smoky vegetable with a rich sunflower seed butter and aromatic salsa verde, perfect served with flatbreads to mop up all of those delicious flavours. A crunchy cinnamon dukkah adds a pleasing texture to proceedings.

Recipe courtesy of


  • 1 large aubergine, cut lengthwise into quarters
  • Table salt, as needed

Harissa paste (keep any excess in the fridge for other uses)

  • 100g cane sugar
  • 100ml red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 whole cardamom pods
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 red chillies
  • 125g tomato paste
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Sunflower Seed Butter (keep any excess in the fridge for other uses)

  • 335g sunflower seeds
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 17ml confit garlic oil, or olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Approx.165ml hot water

Salsa Verde

  • ½ bunch mint
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • ½ bunch apple marigold
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 cup of virgin rapeseed oil


  • 150g sunflower seeds
  • 23g blitzed cinnamon
  • 120g sesame seeds
  • 23g coriander seeds
  • 23g cumin seeds
  • 15g black pepper
  • 15g sea salt flakes
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  1. To being, lightly sprinkle the aubergine quarters with salt and set aside for 30 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, make the harissa. Add the sugar and vinegar to a small saucepan, reduce by two-thirds, then remove from the heat and set aside. Toast all the spices in a separate pan until aromatic, then blitz together with the oil, chilli, and garlic cloves in a mini food processor or using a stick blender. Cook off the oil and spice mixture for 5 minutes, until aromatic and fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Add the reduced sugar and vinegar mixture (this is known as a gastrique) and reduce to a thick paste. Finish with lemon juice, season to taste, and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
  4. For the sunflower seed butter, add the oil, sunflower seeds, and garlic to a Thermomix or other high-powered blender and pulse until everything starts to break down. Slowly add the hot water until a butter consistency is achieved. Season to taste.
  5. Wash the aubergine quarters and thoroughly dry using kitchen paper. Generously cover the aubergine pieces in the harissa paste (you won’t need all of the harissa, just enough to coat liberally) and place in the fridge for 2 hours.
  6. For the salsa verde, add all of the ingredients to a blender and blitz until the sauce has a runny pesto consistency. Set aside in the fridge.
  7. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Preheat a barbecue or griddle pan and add the aubergine pieces, cooking on each side to achieve nice dark grill marks. Finish cooking in the oven for 5 minutes.
  8. To plate, add generous spoonfuls of the sunflower seed butter to each plate and spoon over some salsa verde. Place the aubergine on top and spoon a little harissa to one side. Garnish the aubergine with pea shoots, dill fronds, and edible flowers. Serve immediately.

The Pass was created to help the many people now struggling to feed themselves and their families as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. If you like or use this recipe, please consider making a small donation to Hospitality Action to help those whose livelihoods have all but disappeared.

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