Monday, June 29, 2009

Tomato Salad ala Eggplant

I guess little dish falls under the category of Middle Eastern Experimentation that's been happening quite a bit around our house lately. Having recently realized that, though my body belongs in Cambridge and my heart belongs south of the Mason-Dixon Line, my tastebuds are ever yearning for the Mediterranean. I picked up (ok, Amazon shipped me) two or three great books on this subject lately--see here and here--and I've been devouring them like a 14-year-old with Harry Potter sequels. Or my 29-year-old sister with Harry Potter sequels.

Today's lunch was a function of fridge contents + techniques from my books + laziness, but turned out pretty tasty. The whole thing happened in a matter of about 20 minutes, thanks to the George Foreman--going strong since sophomore year of college, thank you. Oh the things that George has seen...

Tomato Salad ala Eggplant, with Tahini Yogurt
(serves 2; takes about a half-hour)

2-4 big, thick slices of eggplant (or one very small guy)
1 tomato, diced
2-3 Tbsp onion, verrrry thinly sliced
1 Tbsp chopped mint
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup yogurt, thick (greek-style) yogurt works best
1 Tbsp tahini paste
1 tsp salt
olive oil
  1. Start with the eggplant. Make nice, thick slices (at least 1 1/2 inches) --peeling is optional. If the eggplant is small, you could just slice it in half long ways; in this situation, definitely peel, at least some. Brush both sides with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Either grill on the George or broil in the oven (10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through) or saute in a skillet (same).
  2. While that cooks, combine diced tomato, thin sliced onion, mint, cumin, paprika, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and a little olive oil in a medium bowl. Toss and season with salt and pepper as desired.

  3. Lastly, Take your tahini and stir it into the yogurt with 1 tsp salt and remaining 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Taste, adding more lemon juice if it's too sharp.
  4. To assemble, place hot eggplant on plate, slather with tahini yogurt, and spoon salad over top. Consume with fork and knife. Alternately, get (or make) some flatbread, scoop it all in there, and eat it taco-style.

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