In recent years we have shifted the focus of fats in our diet from hindrance to healthful. Unsaturated fats are forever our heroes (nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado and the like), but knowing the brain is primarily made up of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol, nutritionally we encourage people to consume a moderate dose of quality saturated fats to fuel the brain so it can function optimally.
A small dose of dairy such as cheese, butter or ghee - or coconut oil - will do the trick. In this recipe I’ve combined the best of nature’s ingredients with the most delicious hit of quality saturated fats (cheese and yoghurt) and unsaturated fats (nuts and seeds in dukkah), to kick your brain into full throttle, not to mention satisfy your hunger and hankering for all great things in life: hello haloumi.
Haloumi with dukkah, roast eggplant, tomato and rocket
GF : SF
700g (approx 2 large) eggplant, cut 2cm thick rounds
65ml extra virgin olive oil + extra
250g haloumi, sliced 1cm thick
300g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups rocket leaves
1/4 cup parsley leaves, picked
1/4 cup mint leaves, picked
3 tablespoons dukkah
Sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup natural or greek yoghurt
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Heat oven to 200C and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. Place eggplant on a board, sprinkle with sea salt and sit for 10 minutes to draw the bitter water out of the eggplant.
After 10 minutes, wipe the eggplant with paper towel and place on baking tray. Toss with olive oil, lay flat again and bake in oven for 30 minutes.
Whilst eggplant is cooking, whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside. Heat a frypan on medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil to coat the pan then sear the haloumi pieces for a couple of minutes each side.
Once the eggplant is cooked, arrange it on a serving board with haloumi, cherry tomatoes, rocket, parsley, mint, squeeze with lime, sprinkle with dukkah and season with salt and pepper.
Dollop yoghurt dressing throughout the salad and serve.
Jacqueline Alwill is a qualified, practicing nutritionist, author of Seasons to Share and director at The Brown Paper Bag.