We spent three nights in Haifa on one of our trips and spent two of those eating supper at the same restaurant, Fattoush, in town. The reason we went back two nights in a row was because we ate a version of this salad the first night and then went to bed dreaming about it. We went back the next night and duly ordered a whole portion each. All the elements here are delicious in and of themselves: the combination of all three is positively wonderful.
4 large aubergines, pricked in a few places with a small, sharp knife (1kg)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1½ tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 large cauliflower (or 2 medium), cut into roughly 3cm florets (800g)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coriander seeds
¾ tsp ground turmeric
Salt and black pepper
3 large tomatoes, cut into ½cm dice (240g)
10g parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp oregano leaves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
5g picked mint leaves (small ones if you can, or else larger ones, shredded)
5g picked parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1. There are two ways to char your aubergines: either directly on the flame of your stove top or in a hot oven. The oven takes longer – 55–60 minutes (rather than 15–20 minutes on the stove). For full instructions see Glossary.
2. Once the flesh has been scooped out of the burnt aubergines it should weigh about 500g. Place in a colander set over a bowl and leave for at least an hour (or overnight, in the fridge), to drain. Once drained, put the aubergine flesh into a medium mixing bowl and, using your hands, pull it apart to create long, thin strands. Add the garlic, lemon, vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix to combine and set aside (in the fridge if you are making this a day ahead).
3. Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.
4. Put the cauliflower into a large bowl along with the olive oil, coriander seeds, turmeric, ¾ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix well to combine, then spread out on a parchment-lined baking tray. Roast for 30 minutes, until the cauliflower is golden and tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.
5. While the cauliflower is roasting, place all the ingredients for the salsa in a bowl with ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix to combine.
6. To assemble the dish, spread the aubergine on a serving plate which has a lip and
arrange the cauliflower on top. Spoon over the salsa, sprinkle over the mint and parsley and serve.