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pasta alla norma

What do you get when a druid priestess, a Roman proconsul, and a vestal virgin walk into a bar? Bellini’s opera Norma. The ridiculously soapy opera was a huge hit when it debuted; this pasta dish was named for the title character. Even an opera lover like myself has to laugh when I eat this dish; it is almost unseemly to name food for a woman who has an affair outside of her religion  and her political ken (he was a Roman occupier, she a Celt), who upon being scorned by her illicit lover attempts infanticide (Come on! I had to do it! How many times do you get to use that word in a food blog?), and then ultimately decides it would be better to determinedly perish upon her lover’s execution pyre? Her own people, the Celtic tribesmen, lit the match. One wonders what we see in these faint-hearted music-based “reality” TV shows when gutsy entertainment such as this is to be had. Most of us would quail at the thought of it, even without the exhausting, wild, and reckless soprano part Bellini wrote for his heroine.

And yet, here she is, limned in eggplant, a bit of tomato, a few glugs of olive oil, and a dab of ricotta. The tomato sauce is just to coat the pasta, no more. It would be a crime if there were more tomatoes, masking the roasted eggplant, overwhelming the creamy ricotta. I wonder sometimes whether the dish was christened by someone who saw in these simple and untutored ingredients the makings of a rich and unctuous drama. For Pete’s sake, the dish is vegetarian and yet it is rich and fascinating enough, so much so as to be unseemly. But is this not the very meaning of civilization—the human capacity to mask all that is savage and passionate in the trappings of respectability? A truth as finely evident in opera as it is in cuisine. Go ahead and make it. I won’t tell the neighbors.

Pasta alla norma

Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal, or 2 as the sole course

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 eggplant, about 1 to 1 and 1/2 pounds, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced (1 cup)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 very large or 2 medium beefsteak-type tomato, peeled with a vegetable peeler and chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • 1/2 pound pasta (such as rigatoni, mezzo rigatoni, or cart wheels)
  • kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, toss eggplant with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle eggplant with about 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. (Only 1/4 teaspoon if using table salt.) Bake in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, removing from oven twice to stir and toss the eggplant. Eggplant should be baked until it is cooked all the way through.

2. While eggplant is baking, warm the 2 remaining tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add crushed red pepper and stir a bit. Add chopped tomato and bring back to a simmer. Sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt over tomatoes. Then turn heat to very low and cook, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add water a tablespoon at a time if sauce becomes dry.

3. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Strain pasta, reserving about 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

4. Add cooked eggplant to tomato sauce, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Off heat, mix in ricotta and basil. Stir in cooked pasta and add reserved cooking water 1/4 cup at a time to loosen sauce and distribute it nicely. Taste to make sure the dish is properly salted, adding more kosher salt if necessary. Serve immediately, piping hot.

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eggplant + tomato spread (bohémienne)

It’s evidently that time in the summer when few of us can resist the siren song of the piles of glossy black, purple, and white eggplants at the market. Their shiny, taut skins belie the pithy perfection that lies within. The eggplant is one of the true chameleons of the vegetable world. Much more subtle than its extroverted solanaceous cousins, eggplant blends with flavors from rich to smoky to zesty to piquant.

I have been eyeing this recipe from some time. I frequently make baba ganoush when I want an eggplant-based dip, but with tomatoes on hand it was too much to resist this wonderful concoction. It is delicious scooped out of the pan hot (not that I would know, of course) and wonderful cold out of the refrigerator on toasts. Most of this batch was consumed at room temperature on garlic-rubbed crostini, which I would heartily suggest. This would be a marvelous party trick for your next social gathering. It takes advantage of the season’s bounty but is simple to prepare and very friendly with drinks.

The cooking time here is long, and approximate. But you can do other things in the kitchen while making this. (And, as noted above, you may want to make it ahead of time and consume it at room temperature.) Depending on the water content of your eggplant and tomatoes, you could be simmering this down for a long time. Watch the pan, and taste it. You’ll know when it’s ready.

Eggplant + tomato spread (bohémienne)

Adapted from Lulu’s Provençal Table by Richard Olney

  • 1 ripe Italian eggplant (about 1.5 pounds)
  • kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 large onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 can San Marzano plum tomatoes (28 ounces) or 1.5 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded, roughly chopped
  • 3 anchovy fillets (optional if you wish to make this vegetarian)

1. Peel the eggplant and then slice it into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Spread these in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with kosher salt, then flip the slices and sprinkle the second sides. Set aside for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, squeeze each slice between paper towels, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips, and set aside in a large bowl.

2. In a large, wide saute pan or casserole, warm 4 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the sliced onions and saute, stirring regularly, until the onions are soft but not at all brown. (This takes 5 to 10 minutes.) Add the garlic and eggplant and continue to cook, stirring regularly, over medium-low heat until the eggplant is soft. This takes about 15 minutes. You may increase the heat of your burner, perhaps, a little, but you do not want the eggplant to brown at all. If your eggplant absorb all the oil, you may want to add another tablespoon or so to the pan.

3. Add the tomatoes to the pan, reserving the juices. Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add tomato juices as needed to bring liquid just below the surface of the vegetables. Set the pan to a simmer and stir every few minutes. Cook in this manner for 60 minutes, breaking up the vegetables with your spoon as they soften.The liquid in the pan should almost completely evaporate. If it completely dries up and the mixture begins to scorch, add tomato juice or water a little bit at a time to continue the cooking for a full hour. If, after 60 minutes of cooking, the mixture is not dry (it should be beginning to stick) continue cooking and stirring until the liquid evaporates and the mixture becomes glossy and rich. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, use a potato masher or a fork to create a chunky puree.

4. Before the mixture is finished cooking, add 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to a small pan. Add the anchovy fillets and warm over medium-low heat until the anchovies break up and melt into the oil when prodded with a fork. Pour this mixture over the cooked bohémienne and stir well. Set the pan aside to cool. Serve at room temperature or cold, on toasted slices of ciabatta or baguette rubbed with a smashed clove of garlic.

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eggplant salad

Sometimes I forget that the simplest of salads often don’t involve leafy greens. Just before an abundance of salad greens hit our farmers’ markets, I was at the co-op and spotted an eggplant. I usually don’t buy out-of-season vegetables, but I thought about what a nice change it would be to indulge in one of summer’s signature ingredients. Virtually every eggplant dish I make is a variation on this theme: plunk the eggplant down on one of my gas range’s burners, char it until it is totally blackened, covered with ashes, and seeping fluid onto the range, scrape out the smoky, roasted innards, and then mix that with whatever makes the most sense at the time.

I had a bit of red onion around and so I thought a simple salad with a kick of cumin might do the trick. You could use lemon juice if you have one around. I didn’t, but vinegar did the trick.

Since last week I have visited the CitySeed markets and stocked up on rabe, spinach, carrots, and other seasonal treats (check back soon!) but this salad was a great preview of what summer has to offer.

Eggplant salad

Adapted from this recipe from Gourmet

  • 1 eggplant, about 1 pound, more long and skinny than stout
  • 1/4 red onion, minced finely
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • coarse salt

1. Roast the eggplant. I place it, whole, over a gas burner directly on my range. As one side chars and blackens, I rotate it with metal tongs, until the entire eggplant is charred and the flesh has collapsed and is cooked. Alternatively, you can slice it in half lengthwise, place both halves cut-side down on a baking sheet, and place under a high burner (about 1.5″ away from flame) for 15 – 30 minutes, until it is charred and the inside is soft and cooked.

2. Scrape the eggplant flesh from the inside into a medium bowl, and discard skin.

3. Break up the eggplant with a fork. Stir in the other ingredients: onion, vinegar, sugar, olive oil, cumin, parsley. Add a little salt, taste, and add more if needed.

4. Serve at room temperature as part of a selection of tapas, or to accompany roast fish, chicken, or lamb. Heap on toasts to make crostini, garnish with a bit of crumbled feta. This is a flexible dish so enjoy playing with it.

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late-summer vegetable tian

Right now in Connecticut, we are experiencing this great overlap season where tomatoes are still phenomenally good, and we still have lovely eggplant at the market. We also have potatoes and onions. I don’t know what “tian” means—I suppose it’s just the name of this type of dish, where vegetables are sliced and layered in a pan and set to roast, sometimes under meat and sometimes not. I have seen some recipes involving cheese, but at this time of year I don’t want to mask the rich flavors of the vegetables with anything else.

Nothing could be simpler to make than this dish. If you’re facing a pile of vegetables and don’t want to bother with preparing them all separately, the tian is your answer. The other night I happened to have the four vegetables featured in this recipe, and so this is what I made. Zucchini, squash, and even late-fall root vegetables would all probably be quite good with this treatment. It takes a while for the potatoes, especially, to cook, but this gives the other vegetables time to roast and the tomatoes time to break down a bit.

What I did was make a lamb meatloaf (I did not measure for this but I give directions below if you want to try it) and about 45 minutes into the cooking time, I added the meatloaf straight on top of the tian. You could do this with a roast chicken, a pork roast, or a leg of lamb. But the vegetables are just great all on their own. For leftovers—what little there were—I simply diced everything up and made a hash. It’s nice to find ways to stretch out these last few flavors of summer.

Late-summer vegetable tian

  • 1 lb onions, sliced 1/8″ thick
  • 1 eggplant, about 1 lb, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 1 1/2 – 2 lb ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 1 1/2 lb waxy potatoes (boiling type) sliced 1/8″ thick
  • 2 – 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or more of fresh
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Oil your largest, deepest baking dish. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except for tomato slices . Using your hands, gently toss everything, mixing well with the olive oil. Pour into the dish and move the slices around to form more or less orderly layers of mixtures of vegetables, layering the tomatoes in as you go. Make the final topmost layer of tomato slices.

2. Place tian in the oven. After one hour, check to see if tomatoes are browning and potatoes are nearing doneness. If not, increase temperature to 425 F and return to the oven for 30 minutes more. (My tian took about one and a half hours to cook.) If you are topping it with some type of meat, subtract the approximate cooking time of the meat from 90 minutes and add it at that point. My meatloaf took 45 minutes.)

3. When everything is done and the tomatoes are caramelized a bit, pull the tian from the oven and let it rest 15 minutes before serving.

Lamb meatloaf recipe, gross approximations

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • hunk of bread the size of a tennis ball
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt
  • lots of freshly ground pepper

1. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT lamb in the bowl of a food processor. Process until fairly smooth.

2. Place lamb in a large mixing bowl, add the processed ingredients. Mix with your hands. Cook on top of tian for 35-45 minutes (depending on thickness of meatloaf shape), until the top is nicely browned and the internal temperature is 155 F.

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eggplant fries

I overcame my fear of frying when my sister gave me the Zuni Cafe cookbook eight years ago. At the time I was just starting to manage a student-run farm at the boarding school where I worked, and we had a bumper crop of zucchini and other fry-able items that year. A technique used heavily by at least one great-grandmother famous for her doughnuts and fritters, frying for me was fraught with questions: is it unhealthy? won’t the food be greasy? And, critically: will I set my kitchen on fire?

In her book, Judy Rodgers patiently explains the beauty of tasty, crispy vegetables and herbs that get the deep-fry treatment after a quick bath in buttermilk and a toss in flour. At one point I started nearly every meal with guests with a plate of zucchini frites and glasses of cold rosé. But eggplant fries I never quite mastered. They always took on oil—even using the foolproof technique (of keeping the oil hot enough) that worked with every other vegetable. But as we know, I love eggplant, and have therefore been tormented by the knowledge that I would be forever separated from the delicious, perfect, crispy fried eggplant of my dreams.

That’s why when I saw this recipe in last month’s Bon Appétit I was so excited. I had to try it right away. The idea of soaking the eggplant in ice water so that it is already fully saturated when it goes into the hot oil, and therefore unable to absorb any of that oil—well, it is pure genius. And it works! The eggplant stay creamy and buttery—their best selves—and the outsides are crisp and flavorful. I hope before eggplant disappear from the market you’ll be able to enjoy this dish. Just remember to start soaking your eggplant early. And chill that rosé.

Eggplant fries

Adapted from Bon Appétit

Note on timing: Actually cooking the fries takes very little time, but you have to soak the eggplant in water two to 12 hours in advance.

Fries:

  • 1 1-pound eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2″ rounds, then into 1/2″-thick strips
  • vegetable oil (for frying—I use a mixture of grapeseed and canola oils)
  • 3/4 cup rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons za’atar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 clove of fresh garlic, pressed through a garlic press or finely minced and mashed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more for seasoning

1. Place eggplant “fries” in a large bowl. Find a plate that just fits inside the top of the bowl. Cover eggplant completely with ice and then add cold water. Weight down the top with the plate and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.

2. Place a baking sheet on the counter and cover it with a large metal cooling rack. (Just use whatever rack you use to cool that particular sheet pan on.) Cover this with layers of paper towels. This is where you will put the fries when you pull them from the oil.

3. In a deep pot or Dutch oven, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches. Using a deep-fry thermometer, heat oil over medium heat to 325 F. Watch this carefully as it takes a while to get to 325 F, but oil overheats and smokes quickly after that. Also, keep in mind that the temperature will drop when you add eggplant to the pot, so do not turn it down too far either if it begins to overheat.

4. While oil is heating, combine rice flour, zest, za’atar, pulverized garlic and the 1 teaspoon of salt in a plate. Drain eggplant of all water, leaving it a bit damp. Working in batches, toss the eggplant in the flour mixture to coat.

5. Working in batches, fry eggplant, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per batch. Using a metal spider or strainer, move fries to the prepared sheet with paper towels to drain. (Reheat oil to 325 F between batches.) Serve with lemon juice and sea salt on the side, immediately—but careful!—these babies are hot.

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moussaka

Eggplant is having its moment here in Connecticut and thus in my kitchen. I can’t remember a summer since I’ve been here where the eggplant have been so gorgeous this time of year. I already concocted the baba ganoush that I long for immediately upon the arrival of eggplant at the CitySeed farmers’ markets. Having just returned from vacation in Portugal, I (illogically) focused on the eggplant dishes I experienced on vacation last year, in Greece.

When I returned from Greece, where every taverna serves its own homemade version of moussaka, I immediately attempted to find a respectable and recognizable recipe. I could not. Every recipe I found either had pasta sheets (I wanted potato slices) or didn’t have the tomato sauce or lamb I was looking for. So fortified by my time off (in Portugal) I set about reproducing what seemed to me as close as possible to real Greek moussaka. I’m sure every Greek cook has her own recipe, but this is my (amateur) attempt.

I knew that I wanted my moussaka to include not cheese but a bechamel sauce. I have converted all my lasagne-making to bechamel (as opposed to cheese) and this was certainly the hallmark of all the moussaka I had in Greece. I also wanted potato slices, not pasta, but knew that they would have to be par-cooked if the dish would come out properly. I love this with lamb (we get ours from Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm) but it is just as good with beef. I want to emphasize that this recipe is flexible, and could accommodate more eggplant(s)–depending on the size of your pan–or could even be made kosher by excluding the bechamel altogether. I am sure it would not suffer a bit!

There are a lot of steps, so if you’re busy (who isn’t?) I suggest taking this on for the weekend. The bonus is that it’s easy to make ahead. I broiled the eggplant and par-cooked the potatoes and sliced them on Sunday morning. We left the house and returned home at 6 o’clock—I put this on the counter for an hour and baked for about an hour and supper was ready. My guess is that it would be fine held up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. In the end, we were blissfully happy with this concoction. Let me know in the comments if you attempt this and adapt it.

Moussaka

  • 1 medium eggplant, about 1.5 lb., sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 5 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 medium potatoes, about 1 lb.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 lb. ground lamb or ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups whole peeled tomatoes from a can with some juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 20 coarse grinds black pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 3 cloves
  • 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf

Bechamel sauce

  • 2 cups half and half, heated but not to a boil
  • 1 ounce butter
  • 2 ounces flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • a few gratings of fresh nutmeg (1/8 teaspoon)

1. Place potatoes in a pot with cold water to cover. Turn to high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle boil and partly cook potatoes, for 10 minutes. Remove potatoes from water and cool. When potatoes have cooled, slice into 1/8-inch slices with a sharp knife.

2. Meanwhile, turn broiler to high and set rack 4 to 6 inches from flame. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place eggplant slices on parchment in a single layer and brush generously with half the 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Flip slices and brush other side. Place under hot broiler for 5 minutes until soft but not browned. Remove pan and flip slices. Replace under broiler and cook second side of slices for 5 minutes until soft but not browned. Remove from oven and turn oven off.

3. Pour the tablespoon of olive oil into a large skillet. (Not cast iron.) Put onions in skillet and turn to medium-high heat. When onions are translucent add sliced garlic and stir for another minute. Crumble in ground lamb or beef. Cook until meat has lost its raw, red color. Add tomato paste directly onto pan and let it caramelize a bit. Add wine and stir well, bringing to a simmer. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, cloves, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Stir, breaking up tomatoes into small pieces, and bring to a simmer again. Cook at a low simmer for 30 minutes. (Sauce will reduce and become glazy and thick.)

4. Make bechamel. In a heavy-bottomed pan, melt butter over low heat. Add flour to form a crumbly roux. (It will not be a paste.) Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not let roux brown. Remove from heat and continue stirring if it seems like it is cooking too fast. After 5 minutes begin to add half and half in a thin stream, whisking constantly, briskly, to make sauce smooth. Bring just under a simmer, and add salt and nutmeg. Cook until thick, about the consistency of thin yogurt. Set aside.

5. When meat sauce and bechamel are finished, oil a deep dish pan. (I used a deep oval dish. A 13 x 9 pan would probably work.) If cooking the dish now, preheat the oven to 350 F.

6. Scatter breadcrumbs in bottom of pan. Add half of cooked eggplant slices. Top with one-quarter of meat sauce. Layer in half of the potato slices. Top with 1/2 cup bechamel and another quarter of the meat sauce. Layer in the rest of the cooked eggplant slices and then another quarter of the meat sauce, then the rest of the cooked potato slices. Top with the remainder of the meat sauce and then the remainder of the bechamel. (Don’t sweat this; the combination in any proportions is bound to be delicious.)

7. Either cool and refrigerate until ready to cook (the casserole will hold up to one day in advance) or place in the preheated oven. (If making ahead in a glass dish, remove from refrigerator an hour before cooking.) Cook for at least 45 minutes, or until sauce bubbles and vegetables are fully cooked. Let dish rest for 15 minutes, at least, before serving.

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baba ganoush + za’atar pita

I would not be the first person to remark on the primeval nature of the union of flame and food. There is something about building and lighting a fire that speaks to the primordial desire to eat and feed that has developed into more sophisticated forms—cookery, cuisine. Because we live in a small apartment in the city and have no access to the outdoors—and therefore outdoor cooking—this is the season in which I have a serious case of Grill Envy.

Some fiery things can still be done in the indoor kitchen, if you don’t mind a bit of smoky smell in the house. I bought a gorgeous eggplant from Stone Gardens at the downtown CitySeed market last week, and immediately fire—and baba ganoush—were on my mind. The problem with eggplant season for me is that there are so many things I instantly want to make (moussaka, parmesan a la Marcella Hazan, and now these eggplant fries) that it is hard to decide what to do first.

But on Friday evening we were happy to have a dinner of meze, so baba it was. I have a lifetime supply of za’atar, so I put it in the baba ganoush and on top of the fresh pita I picked up at the Middle Eastern bodega on Orange Street here in New Haven. Za’atar is a combination of thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac that is used in all sorts of Middle Eastern dishes. It is tangy (from the sumac, which we used to eat like crazy when we went on hikes with my dad as kids), earthy (from the thyme) and nutty (from the sesame) and tastes wonderful on lots of things. (If you want a little snack while you’re cooking, do what I did and sneak a couple of pita with the za’atar and salt and olive oil into the oven while you’re charring the eggplant.)

While the eggplant was in the oven (after its healthy char on the gas burner) I chopped up some tomatoes and cucumbers, sprinkled them with salt and drizzled them with olive oil and called that a salad. I also sliced some halloumi, the salty and firm Cypriot cheese, dusted it in za’atar and rice flour (you could use regular flour) and fried it dark brown in some olive oil in a nonstick pan. Scooping up the smoky baba ganoush with the toasty pita, I almost forgot our grill-less state.

Baba Ganoush

This recipe can be doubled or tripled for larger groups or families. The proportions below make 2 to 3 cups of finished baba ganoush.

  • 1 eggplant, about 1 lb., cleaned and pierced several times with a fork
  • 1/3 cup tahini paste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt (sea salt or kosher salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon za’atar

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place the whole eggplant on a gas burner at medium-high, or on an outdoor grill. When one side chars completely, use metal tongs to turn it, gradually, until it is charred on all sides. This will take 10 – 20 minutes, depending on how charred and smoky you like your finished baba.

2. When completely charred to your liking, place the eggplant on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake until it pierces easily all the way through with a sharp knife, another 20 to 30 minutes. You want to err on the side of overcooking. Remove cooked eggplant from oven and cook completely.

3. Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients in the food processor or blender. Scrape and scoop all the cooled eggplant flesh from the skin into the bowl of the food processor. (You don’t want the skin in the finished product.)

4. Process or blend until smooth and completely mixed. Scrape into a bowl and serve with pita (below). This dish is better the day after it’s made, so you can also scrape into an airtight container and refrigerate for later use.

Za’atar pita

  • pita rounds
  • olive oil for brushing
  • coarse salt (sea salt or kosher salt)
  • za’atar

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut as many pitas as you like into quarters. Place on baking sheet. Brush olive oil onto the tops of wedges and sprinkle with za’atar and coarse salt to taste. I like to evenly cover the tops of the pitas with za’atar.

2. Place baking sheet with pitas in the oven. For soft, pliable bread, bake for 3 to 4 minutes. For crisper chips, bake for longer, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve.

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