Grilled eggplant with sesame oil, herbs and flat bread
Grilling the eggplant over flames gives it a charred smoky flavour that you don’t get by roasting it in the oven. Same thing for the grilled bread. The blackened, caramelized strips on the flatbread are a good accompaniment to this eggplant dish. Having said that, if you do not have access to a grill you can still make this dish successfully roasting the eggplant in the oven and cooking the bread in a skillet on top of the stove. In the kitchen, there is always an alternative.
Roasted eggplant is very mediterranean, especially mid-eastern. In Israel, grill the eggplant, cut it in half vertically without cutting through the stem, fanned on the plate and served drizzled with oil, a sprinkling of salt and a shower of parsley together with a lemon wedge to squeeze on at the end. And of course, some good pita alongside.
You’ll find the eggplant recipe below, the flatbread in the next post.
Serves 4 as appetizer.
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons roasted sesame seed oil
1-2 garlic cloves, grated
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, more as needed
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
5 mint leaves, torn
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
Heat up the grill to high, place eggplant over the heat and cook, turning it over every few minutes until it is entirely charred and soft, about 15-20 minutes. If you do not have a grill roast the eggplant in a 425ºF oven turning it until it is cooked through.
Remove eggplant, place in a glass dish and let cool somewhat until you can handle it.
In the meantime sprinkle the lemons slices with the sugar and place on the grill, turning them over once until both sides have grill marks.
Once the eggplant has cooled enough cut through the skin and scoop out the flesh with a spoon into a clean bowl, discarding the blackened skin.
Strain the liquid that collected at the bottom of the bowl and add a couple of tablespoons of it to the eggplant
Using a knife and fork cut through the eggplant gently, being careful not to over cut. You want chunks, not a mash.
Add olive oil, sesame oil, salt, pepper, mint leaves and the lemon juice.
Add the parsley and taste to adjust seasoning.
Spoon the eggplant and juice into serving bowls, garnish with grilled lemon slices.
Serve with the grilled bread (recipe in the next post).