I really enjoy all of Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks. It started with coming across Jerusalem and being on awe of all the amazing food photography. Every picture was something mouth watering that I would eat. All of Ottolenghi’s recipes use flavors and spices that I have grown up with and enjoy. I haven’t ended up cooking a lot out of the books (because cooking has taken a back seat lately), but when I have it’s been a hit – like this Grilled Eggplant recipe, with a few minor modifications.
This is a great option to try out during Ramadan, and a great option for iftar (breaking fast). There’s plenty of flavor and a great source of protein with the grilled eggplants and yogurt, making it a healthier and filling options than the typical fried foods people open fasts with.
GRILLED EGGPLANT WITH RED ONIONS, YOGURT, & LEMON
- 2 large eggplants, sliced
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 preserved lemon, thinly sliced
- 1/2 lemon, juice and zest of
- 4 onions, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 3-4 tbsp Greek yogurt
- Mint leaves, for garnish
- Cut the eggplants into round slices, brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat the eggplant slices oner a grill until cooked through. I like to see them with those nice grill marks.
2. I decided to make the lemons a little fancier, so I turned them into quick preserved lemons. Combine water and salt in a small saucepan and bring them to a boil. Add lemons and cook for 30 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup and lemon rind is tender. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
3. While the eggplants and lemons are cooling off, heat the remaining oil in a heavy frying pan until medium-hot. Add the onion and cook for 8-10 minutes or until soft and starting to brown. Add cumin and sumac and cook for 2 minutes and then remove from heat.
4. Take the yogurt and put it in the bowl, adding the juice of half of a lemon and the glove of garlic and mix.
5. To arrange, first spoon and spread yogurt sauce over the plate. Sprinkle sumac over for additional taste. Then arrange eggplant slices over the yogurt. Then spread onions, preserved lemon slices, and mint on top as the final layer.
This can be eaten on its own, or bet yet, with white rice or thick flatbread. It’s really nice and refreshing dish that has salty, tart, and sweet flavors all in one bite between the eggplant, lemon, and mint. I devoured a large part of this dish when I made it, heh.