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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Moorish Eggplant Salad

eggplant salad moorish

Recently, D gave me this simple and easy-to-follow cookbook for my birthday: Moorish by Greg & Lucy Malouf. I have been trying out some recipes from it. And, as usual, I try to follow closely but I end up taking liberties with the recipe just because I have this chronic inability to do as directed :)

Long Chinese or Japanese eggplants are best suited for this recipe. I like to cut them into discs, although, I guess long slices would be fine too.

Some of the ingredients may be hard to find in regular grocery stores. We get ours from a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern market in the city, and, fortunately, there is a Penzeys Spices nearby and I get quite a few exotic items there and stock up my shelves periodically.

It is recommended that the eggplant be salted, sweated, drained and patted dry before baking to remove the bitterness, but, I have skipped this step and found it just as tasty - I love eggplant, so, this step doesn't seem to adversely affect the flavors for me.

Also, the Tahini-Sumac-Yogurt Dressing can be served as a dip or as a sauce. Sometimes, I use the spice mix sold as "Kou Kou" which seems to be a mixture of dried parsley, dill, leek/onion, coriander for the dressing.

tahini sumac yogurt dressing

If making a small batch, I cook the eggplant in a stove-top grill pan. Else, I like to brush the eggplant disks with olive oil, sprinkle some salt, paprika, and cumin powder and bake them in a single layer in a 425°F oven for about 15 minutes.

2 long Chinese eggplants, sliced crosswise into discs
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 small onion (preferably red) diced coarsely
1 medium tomato, diced coarsely (optional)
1-2 Tbsp canola oil, or canola oil cooking spray
¼ cup Feta, crumbled (optional)
1 tsp paprika for sprinkling on top of eggplant
1 tsp cumin powder for sprinkling on top of eggplant
salt to taste

Tahini-Sumac-Yogurt Dressing:
2-3 Tbsp Olive oil
2-3 Tbsp Tahini
¼ cup sour, thick, plain yogurt (I use Nancy's™ or Zoi® Nonfat Greek Yogurt)
2-3 cloves of garlic minced finely
1-2 tsp coarsely ground (or cracked) black pepper
1 Tbsp Sumac
1 Tbsp Kou Kou mix - dried parsley, dill, onion/leek, coriander powder
salt to taste

  1. Tahini Sumac Yogurt Dressing: Combine the dressing ingredients in a blender and whip till smooth and thick; alternately, whisk the ingredients by hand till well combined, still thick
  2. Heat the oil in a grill-pan over medium-high heat and place the eggplant rounds/discs in a single layer; sprinkle some salt, paprika, cumin powder on both sides; cook both sides till done but not mushy; if needed, cook the eggplant in batches so as to not overcrowd the pan; alternately, brush with oil, arrange in a single layer in a roasting pan, bake in a 425 °F oven for 15 minutes or till done.
  3. In a separate pan, sauté the onions and tomatoes (if using) with a sprinkling of salt and black pepper
  4. To Serve: Arrange the grilled eggplant pieces on a plate, drizzle some of the dressing on top, pile some sautéed onions and tomatoes, garnish with crumbled feta and parsley (or cilantro) if preferred; sprinkle some smoked paprika powder; serve some extra dressing on the side

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  • At 10:08 PM, Blogger Vicki said…

    Wow, that looks good. Isn't sumac an amazing spice? I can't believe I've never had it with eggplant before.

  • At 6:20 PM, Blogger Susan from Food Blogga said…

    This is a terrific recipe, tweaks and all. I love the yogurt-sumac sauce as well.


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