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Baby aubergines in tomato sauce with anchovy and dill yoghurt

Main Midweek
Serves 4
Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr

Baby aubergines are more tender and slightly sweeter than larger ones. This dish is delightful served warm or at room temperature, making it perfect for a summer spread or as a meal on its own. Be sure to accompany it with lots of crusty bread.


100g unsalted butter
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced (400g)
14 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole (40g)
salt and black pepper
500g baby aubergines, slit open lengthways, but not all the way through, and with stems still attached
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 fresh plum tomatoes (800g net weight), blitzed until smooth
200g cherry tomatoes
200g greek-style yoghurt
20g dill, plus a few extra sprigs, to serve
30g anchovy fillets
1½ tsp lemon juice
60g unsalted butter
1½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed
1 tsp chilli flakes


  1. Heat the oven to its highest setting 240C (220C fan)/475F/gas 9. Put the butter in a medium, ovenproof saucepan on a medium-high heat and, once it’s melted, add the onions, garlic and half a teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring from time to time, for 25 minutes, until the onions are caramelised.
  2. Meanwhile, toss the aubergines in a medium oven tray with a tablespoon of olive oil and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, then roast for 15 minutes, until partly cooked. Remove from the oven, but leave it turned on.
  3. Stir the tomato paste into the onion pan, cook for five minutes, then stir in the blitzed tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes more. Gently push the aubergines into the sauce, so they’re submerged in it, dot the cherry tomatoes in between the aubergines, then transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the tomato skins are blistered.
  4. Put all the ingredients for the anchovy yoghurt in the small bowl of a food processor, blitz until almost smooth – you want a few flecks of green and bits of anchovy – then scrape into a bowl and set to one side.
  5. Now make the cumin butter. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on a medium heat, and leave to cook for three to five minutes, until the solids at the bottom start to brown and smell nutty. Remove from the heat, then stir in the cumin seeds, chilli flakes and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt.
  6. Spoon half the anchovy yoghurt and half the cumin butter all over the aubergines, and save the rest to serve on the side. Scatter with the picked dill and serve warm or at room temperature.