Friday, January 11, 2013

Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgar and Yogurt

Eggplant is soooo not in season right now, but when I saw the recipe for Chermoula Eggplant in Yotam Ottolenghi's beautiful new cookbook, Jerusalem, there was no way I could hold out until summer to make it.  Chermoula is a marinade used in North African cooking, usually used to flavor fish and meats but it is also a wonderful brushed over vegetables as well. This delicous marinade usually incudes preserved (pickled) lemon, fresh herbs, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, coriander and salt; the propotions and spices vary from region to region.

I love eggplant in all forms, grilled, fried or roasted to death and made into the ever popular dip, baba ganoush.  My husband on the other hand had a difficult time with the texture and has only ever really enjoyed it when fried and slathered with sauce and cheese to make eggplant parmesan.
Despite his fickle attitude towards eggplant I went ahead and made the recipe anyways...

The eggplant it brushed with a mixture of preserved lemon, olive oil, garlic, cumin, coriander, chili flakes and paprika then baked until tender.  A delicious bulgar pilaf studded with toasted slivered almonds, golden raisins and green olives with fresh herbs was spooned over the eggplant and served with a side of thick greek yogurt.

Although this was meant to be served as a meal on its own I felt like I needed something else to round out the dish.  I tossed some cauliflower with lots of spices, cumin, black pepper, turmeric, coriander, crushed red pepper, olive oil and breadcrumbs and roasted until crispy.

....and the husband approved...


Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgar and Yogurt
From Jerusalem

2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon peel (recipe below)
2/3 cup olive oil, plus extra to finish
2 medium eggplants
1 cup fine bulgur
2/3 cup boiling water
1/3 cup golden raisins
3 1/2 tablespoons warm water
1/3 ounce (2 teaspoons) cilantro, chopped, plus extra to finish
1/3 ounce (2 teaspoons) mint, chopped
1/3 cup pitted green olives, halved
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. To make the chermoula, mix together in a small bowl the garlic, cumin, coriander, chili, paprika, preserved lemon, the olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Score the flesh of each half with deep, diagonal crisscross cuts, making sure not to pierce the skin. Spoon the chermoula over each half, spreading it evenly, and place the eggplant halves on a baking sheet, cut side up. Put in the oven and roast for 40 minutes, or until the eggplants are completely soft.

4. Meanwhile, place the bulgur in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water.

5. Soak the raisins in the warm water. After 10 minutes, drain the raisins and add them to the bulgur, along with the remaining oil. Add the herbs, olives, almonds, green onions, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

6. Serve the eggplants warm or at room temperature. Place 1/2 eggplant, cut side up, on each individual plate. Spoon the bulgur on top, allowing some to fall from both sides. Spoon over some yogurt, sprinkle with cilantro and finish with a drizzle of oil.

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