Baked eggplant is gorgeous, transforming the vegetable into something quite different to our usual choices in cooking eggplants. It was Japanese cuisine that had me first baking it – I wanted to reproduce the flavours of my favourite Japanese dish of the moment, one with miso, sesame and mirin. And so this recipe was born, in the days before internet and food cookbook fashions. It has always been a family favourite.
Of course, it is more common to bake it these days, in all sorts of ways – stuffed, sliced, coated in breadcrumbs. Even Ottolenghi finds a way to bring his touch to it – by smothering it in chermoula and serving the gorgeous baked dish with burghul and yoghurt. Yum. It is a recipe from Jerusalem, and it is one that I have marked Magnificent. Eggplant and chermoula is a common combination from Morocco to the Middle East – Paula Wolfert also has a cracker recipe for eggplant slices that have been baked and then smothered with chermoula. It is in her book The Food of Morocco.
In this recipe, halved eggplant is coated in the chermoula – a mix of spices, lemon and garlic – then baked before being served with a tangy burgul (bulgar) mix of herbs, sultanas, olives and almonds, and a spoonful of yoghurt.
It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
“Served separately, both the aubergine and the bulgar salad from this dish are delicious with the accompanying Greek yoghurt, but all three together are a match made in food heaven. Chermoula is a potent North African spice paste that is ideal for smearing on your favourite vegetables for roasting.”
Similar recipes include Japanese Baked Eggplant with Miso and Sesame, Eggplant Baked with Harissa and Chickpeas, and Baked Garlicky Eggplant with Feta.
Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.
We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
Continue reading “Chermoula Aubergine with Bulgar and Yoghurt”