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Garden Egg and Fonio Salad

Matt Russell


  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon baobab powder (optional)
  • 5-6 garden egg eggplants, sliced
  • 7 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • fresh thyme sprigs
  • okra salt
  • 5 ounces broccoli florets or sprouting broccoli steamed (optional)
  • 7 fluid ounces water, boiled
  • ounces fonio
  • sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 5 ounces wild arugula
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • ground grains of paradise, to taste

Chef notes

The garden egg is a small white eggplant — so called because of its resemblance to a boiled egg! It often suffers the same fate as okra, being plonked into stews and obliterated of all flavor. You can prepare and cook garden eggs in any of the ways you would any eggplant: steamed, grilled, baked or fried! Here we're roasting with tomatoes and fresh herbs and serving with a nutty, delicious ancient grain that cooks like couscous and puts quinoa to shame.

Swap option: If you can't find okra salt, you can use seaweed salt flakes. If you don't have grains of paradise (aka alligator pepper), you can use freshly ground black pepper.


For the dressing:

In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients together until well-combined. Set aside.

For the salad:


Preheat oven to 400 F.


Wash the garden eggs and remove the stems then quarter. Put them in a large bowl with the tomatoes, onions and thyme and toss with half the dressing, making sure to evenly coat each piece.


Lay out the ingredients on a baking sheet and season with okra salt. Roast in oven for about 15-20 minutes, making sure to turn over with tongs halfway through. They should get a lovely golden hue and slight crispness around the edges.


Break the broccoli into bite-size pieces and steam in a colander.


Add the water and fonio in a pan with pinch of salt, the rapeseed oil and lemon zest. Stir well once, bring to boil and then remove from heat to steam cook with a lid on until the water is absorbed. Fork through the fonio once cooked.


Once the broccoli has steamed, vegetables have been roasted and the fonio is ready, remove from the heat and allow to cool.


Finally, gently toss all the roasted ingredients together in a bowl with the wild rocket and season to taste with grains of paradise and the remaining dressing.


Gently spoon on top of a bed of fonio or toss through with fonio and add the chopped cilantro on top.