Courtesy Duncan Welgemoed, chef and owner, Africola, Adelaide, Australia
Duncan Welgemoed has a thing for fire. The man behind Africola, one of Adelaide, South Australia’s hottest restaurants, blends his South African roots with local, ethically sourced meat, fish and produce. At this temple to flame cooking, he smokes, roasts and chars his ingredients to perfection.
In true Aussie melting pot style, this fire-roasted eggplant dish draws on ingredients from several different cultures, with a dash of local flavor in the form of finger limes—a native digit-shaped citrus filled with caviar-like flesh. If you don’t happen to be down under, substituting this ingredient with regular limes produces a similar flavor. Wherever you are, channel the Aussie spirit of cooking and eating outdoors and try making vegetable dish over an open fire.
- 4 pounds eggplant, cut into 1-inch thick rounds
- 4 ounces extra virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces golden raisins
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 ounces anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry and finely chopped
- 3 finger limes (can substitute regular limes)
- 8 ounces pine nuts, toasted in dry skillet until golden brown and fragrant
- 8 ounces Sherry vinegar
- Fleur de sel
- Parsley, for garnish
Slick eggplants with 2–3 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt, and wrap in foil, leaving some space at the top.
Roast on grill over the fire until just tender but still holding shape, 20–30 minutes. While cooking, plump raisins in hot water until soft, 5–10 minutes.
In small saucepan, bring the cream to simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in the cheese and cook gently, stirring until there are no lumps, about 6 minutes. Pass mixture through fine-mesh strainer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat 5 tablespoon olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic and anchovy. Cook, stirring until the shallot softens, about 5 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and reserve.
Drain raisins and add to bowl with anchovy mixture. Add pine nuts and vinegar and whisk in remaining olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon over the roasted eggplants and finish with the finger limes. Vinaigrette will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to a week. Serves 4.