Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chermoula Eggplant

The Ottolenghi-Tamimi book Jerusalem is all the rage with my group of friends these days. I read the introduction when friends brought the book out to the country, and knew I had to have it when I found this recipe: Chermoula Eggplant with Bulghur & Yogurt. I adapted the recipe from the book just a bit. Here it is, with all credit to Otto & Tami:

Chermoula Eggplant with Herbed Bulghur & Yogurt

2 medium eggplants
1 cup coarse bulghur
2 crushed and chopped garlic cloves
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chile flakes
2 tsp sweet or smoked paprika
2 tbsp chopped preserved lemons
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup boiling water
1/2 cup golden raisins
4 tbsp warm water
1 oz chopped cilantro
1/2 oz chopped mint
1/2 cup pitted and chopped green olives
1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds
3 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup green yogurt
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp harissa

Wash and halve the eggplants, and then score diagonally one direction and then the next without reaching the outside skin and breaking it so that you've got nice diced shaped crosses that will soak up the chermoula. Mix together the chopped garlic, lemons, cumin, coriander, chile, paprika, and olive oil into a paste and spread over the eggplant halves, making sure that the paste gets between the cuts. Place the eggplant halves on a greased baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. 

About 10 minutes before the eggplant is finished roasting, place the cup of bulghur in a bowl and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you like your bulghur a little more spicy, season with some more paprika, chile, or whatever. Pour a speck of olive oil into the bulghur and stir so that the bulghur is coated with a little bit of oil so that the bulghur won't stick when you pour the boiling water over, which you should do next. Just cover the bulghur with boiling water, cover with a plate, and let sit until the water is absorbed. When ready, add the raisins, chopped cilantro (except the bit you'll use to garnish the top of the dish), mint, olives, almonds, green onions and lemon juice. 

When the eggplant is finished roasting, arrange halves on plates, generously pile on the herbed bulghur, artfully slap on some yogurt, drizzle the harissa (which is hot, so be carefully and arrange on top to taste), and then toss some cilantro on top and serve. Delicious.

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