Roast eggplant with za’atar sauce, and the granola draw!

Brace yourself for a long post.

First order of the evening, the granola giveaway draw!

The winners are as follows:

  1. Patrice Lowrie
  2. James Allen
  3. Jordan Dunne

I’ll contact each of you to grab your address and get posting those jars!

Second order of the evening, this dish. I splurged on some Maldon sea-salt flakes this weekend, $8 for a box – my lord. So I had to make something fancy for at least one meal this week. Enter this dinner.

It may seem a bit component-ey but as you can purchase both hummus and za’atar from your supermarket, it can be quite quick to pull together. Or, if you’re like me and want to make your own za’atar and hummus, the recipes for those are further down this page. Neither are time-consuming.

So, take a few skinny little eggplants, some smokey flavours, a few fresh leafy things and a kickass sauce – add some cherry tomatoes and sprinkle some crunchy almonds on top for good measure – and you’ve pretty much got this dinner done. It’s good. Ash said I should serve it to ‘company‘, i.e. it’s above average. Sweet!

Roast eggplant with za’atar sauce (serves 2)

I plated this up trying to be all fancy – next time I’ll try to stack it more instead of spreading out so much over the plate. If you’re half-decent at presentation you’ll no doubt do a better job than me. Just don’t go posting photos or I’ll get jealous.

This is yet another not-pedantically-measured recipe. You know how it is with things that are ‘a bit of this and a bit of that’. I approximate. Taste and adjust until you’re happy. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 skinny little eggplants (not sure what the variety is called, but they’re like mini-ordinary-ones)
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt
  • 3 tbsp slivered almonds
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • 1.5 tbsp tahini
  • 1.5 tbsp almond or soy milk
  • 3/4 cup hummus
  • a handful of baby spinach
  • a handful of coriander, torn
  • a few cherry tomatoes (2-3 each), halved
  • salt and pepper for serving

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C and line baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Slice eggplants in quarters lengthways, rub with olive oil and paprika, sprinkle with salt and pop in the oven.
  3. Put the almonds in the oven too, in a single layer on a second tray. Keep an eye on them and as soon as they start browning take them out. Nuts and seeds go from roasted and delicious to charred and awful very quickly. These should take about 10 minutes, then take them out and transfer them to a bowl.
  4. Prepare the za’atar sauce by shaking the za’atar, tahini and almond milk in a small jar until smooth.
  5. Divide the hummus between the two dinner plates and spread around.
  6. Scatter the baby spinach across the hummus, then the coriander.
  7. When the eggplant is done, after about 20 minutes in the oven, arrange it over the greens.
  8. Scatter the tomato halves around the plate and sprinkle the roasted almonds over the top.
  9. Drizzle with the za’atar sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Hummus (makes about as much as the dip container you’d get at the supermarket)

Tahini varies greatly in flavour and texture between brands. If you love the one you’ve got, add as much as you like. If it’s not great, start with less. If you’re not sure, start with less and add more until you love it. In fact, that last option is probably the smartest approach anyway.

Ingredients:

  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and liquid reserved
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, or 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Add canning liquid until the texture is as thick or as thin as you like. I would have added about 1/4 cup canning liquid tonight, and it was perfect spreading-across-a-plate texture.
  2. Taste, season with salt and more lemon juice if it needs it.

Za’atar (makes heaps)

I’ve been in love with this herb and spice mix ever since a Lebanese girl at my high school used to have Lebanese bread with olive oil and za’atar for lunch. She thought it was ordinary, I thought it was food from the gods.

I had been wanting to find some for literally years, and then I found a recipe for it in a zine I bought. Turns out it’s damn easy, and the zine is fantastic. Only a few dollars too – totally worth it for the brilliant recipes and hilarious writing.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sumac
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp marjoram
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Method:

  1. Grind the sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle (or a spice grinder if you’re lazy, and have one).
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and store in a jar in your pantry.
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5 thoughts on “Roast eggplant with za’atar sauce, and the granola draw!

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