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Near Year's is a time of reflection as well as a chance to look ahead and make new goals. If last year's resolution had anything to do with getting healthy, you might be dreading holiday parties filled with high-calorie treats like bacon-wrapped scallops and baked brie. However, you don't have to ring in the new year with an unhealthy hors d'oeuvre. Instead, offer to bring this delicious and nutritious Mediterranean-inspired Eggplant Saffron Mint Yogurt Dip, adapted from Nigella Lawson's recipe in her cookbook "Feast." With onion, garlic, saffron, mint and pine nuts, you don't have to sacrifice flavor in this cold appetizer.
Eggplant Saffron Mint Yogurt Dip
3 small eggplants (1–1 1/2 pounds total weight) to make about 1 1/4 cups when roasted, pulped and strained
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 fat garlic cloves, minced
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 2 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Dribble of extra virgin olive oil to decorate
The first step is to roast the eggplants - from this, you'll get the pulp that is mixed into the dip. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, place the eggplants on a baking sheet and prick them with a fork a few times. Bake the vegetables for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the insides are soft and squishy. Let them cool before peeling the outer skin off and mashing them. Leave the mashed eggplant in a sieve to drain.
To make the rest of the dip, heat oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic. Add the eggplant and cook it with the onion and garlic for about five minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Take the mixture off the heat, set aside in a bowl and season with salt and pepper while it cools.
Once the eggplant mixture is cooled, add the yogurt, saffron and its water and stir together well. Turn the dip into its serving dish and sprinkle the mint, pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil over the creamy mixture. Serve with a pile of flat breads.