In case you haven't yet realised it, my signature cookery style is fast becoming what I like to term as 'Modern Persian'... using many of the ingredients that are popular in my culture but with modern accents and twists of fusion which make them more enjoyable on a daily basis.
This is one of my favourite accompaniments to lamb as the meaty flesh of the aubergine, always proves a great pairing with the aromatic spice-rubbed lamb dishes I like to make. Every time I make it, I vary the dish somewhat... In the images above, you will see the first where I made a much stronger saffron yoghurt, less mint and added chopped pickled chillies to give it a lovely heat, but I have also made it using less saffron and more mint also. The point to my cooking, as always, is to adapt it to your own taste (and available ingredients) and come up with something that works well in your own home. There is no exacting of quantities with this sort of recipe, so feel free to adjust accordingly.
Aubergines with Feta Cheese and Saffron Yoghurt
3 large aubergines (unpeeled), sliced widthways into 1 inch discs
2-3 generous pinches of good quality saffron
250g of full fat 'Total' Greek yoghurt
Small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped or shredded
100g-200g of feta cheese (use as much as you want, I like 200g!)
Maldon sea salt
Pickled chillies (optional)
Over a medium-high heat (or medium if using gas) preheat a large frying pan and start brushing both sides of your aubergine slices with vegetable oil. Do not salt them as this will draw moisture out of them, which you don't really want. Aubergines do not need to be salted as they once used to as their juices are no longer bitter due to new varieties cultuvated. You can season them once they are cooked. Then once the pan is nice and hot, fry the aubergines for about 10-12 minutes each side (or until nicely browned on each side) Repeat until all the aubergine is cooked and then set aside.
If you have a pestle and mortar to ground your saffron down to a powder, then great... if not, crumble your saffron into a little cup using your fingers and add two tablespoons of boiling kettle water to the cup and allow the saffron to infuse into the water, making 'liquid saffron'. Allow to cool and once cooled, combine with your yoghurt and mix well until the colour is even.
Arrange the aubergine slices on a large flate plate, season well with Maldon sea salt and crumble your feta cheese liberally over the top. Dot your saffron yoghurt around the plate and garnish with mint and (if desired) pickled chillies.