Roasted Eggplant With Curry Dressing
By Lisa Starr, Meatland
Ottolenghi Inspired Zebra Power
Meat is meat and a man must eat but it's the side servings that create maximum impact.
Israeli-born celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi is credited with making vegetables sexy and, judging by guests' jaw-dropping response to the Ottolenghi-inspired recipes I've served, he's succeeded in his goal.
I'm yet to make an unsuccessful Ottolenghi-based recipe, but this Roasted Eggplant With Curried Tahini definitely takes first prize, and makes the most amazing meat-free meal, salad, starter or side dish.
While this dish calls for a couple of components, these can be easily prepared a few days in advance, and then brought to room temperature and assembled when ready to entertain.
You'll also need a couple of spices you may not usually have at hand but, believe me, it's so worth the effort.
I've tweaked this winning recipe to make it my own, and dairy-free, and will be adding this to my regular repertoire.
Summer in the city just got amped up with unforgettable flavor.
4 eggplantCanola oil1/4 cup tahini paste*2 teaspoons curry powder1/2 teaspoon turmeric2 tablespoons lemon juice2 teaspoons lemon zest2 onions, sliced1/3 cup flaked almonds1 teaspoon ground cumin or cumin seeds1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed (NOTES)Pomegranate seeds OR cranberries OR halved black grapesMaldon salt and coarse pepper
* Replace with 200 ml Greek yoghurt if making a dairy meal.
1: Use a vegetable peeler to peel away strips of eggplant skin from top to bottom, leaving the eggplant with alternative strips of black skin and white flesh, like a zebra. This is not an essential step but adds visual impact with minimal effort.
2: Cut widthways into rounds slices, 2 cm thick, place in a bowl and mix with 3 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper, then spread out on a baking tray and bake at 200 C for approximately 30 minutes till lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
3: Mix tahini paste with equal amount of water - or slightly more - till pourable or use 1/2 cup of ready-prepared tahini. Add 1 teaspoon of curry powder, turmeric, lemon juice and salt and pepper and refrigerate till needed.
4: Heat additional oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and fry till soft and golden, then add the remaining teaspoon of curry powder, almonds, and a pinch of salt and continue frying till nuts are lightly browned.
5: When ready to serve, arrange the eggplant slices on a platter, spoon over the curried tahini sauce and top with the fried onions, then sprinkle over cumin seeds, crushed coriander seeds, pomegranate seeds/cranberries/grapes, and zest and serve.
SIMPLE EXPLANATION FOR THOSE SCARED BY INSTRUCTIONS:
1: Slice eggplant, add oil and seasoning and and roast till browned.
2: Combine tahini, garlic, lemon, water, half the curry curry powder and seasoning.
3: Fry sliced onion till golden then add nuts and remaining curry and cook till toasted.
4: Layer eggplant with curry sauce and caramelized onion then garnish with fruit and whole spices.
COOK'S NOTES: This looks lengthy but it's actually very easy and the 3 components can be prepared way ahead. Greek yoghurt can replace the tahini paste if preferred. If you don't have cumin seeds at hand then you can add 1 teaspoon of ground cumin to the onions while frying. I wouldn't compromise on the crushed coriander seeds though as these are wonderful and I use them often. Buy coriander seeds and pulse in a food processor till crushed or bash with a rolling pin. I always have a jar of crushed coriander seeds at hand and use these in curries etc too. Crushed coriander seeds have far more lemony flavor than the ready-ground spice.
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