Grilled charred eggplant is a staple in our home. Its firm skin protects its creamy interior and will absorb any flavouring you add to it during the cooking process. Inspired by Za’tar, a middle-eastern thyme- and sesame- based spice blend, have instead used freshly picked thyme & oregano, blended the leaves with toasted sesame seeds and olive oil, creating a paste. This beautiful spice blend is rubbed into the scored eggplant and then grilled. The eggplant serves as the vehicle for the flavours lending tangy and aromatic notes to the eggplant.
Finally, a smooth and creamy tahini and yoghurt sauce drizzled over the eggplant using a spoon to create a stunning contrast against the charred eggplant. Do not forget the plentiful serve of freshly chopped coriander and parsley.
If you are passionate about cooking with quality ingredients and would like to use fresh spices bursting with beautiful aromas and flavours I truly recommend for you to use Spice & Co brand of herbs and spices.
With only 15 minutes preparation let the oven do all the work for you and make this perfectly simple earthy weeknight dinner accompaniment a regular star. The za’atar inspired middle-eastern flavours do complement the lusciously soft eggplant and topped with tangy tahini yoghurt sauce and a plentiful serve of freshly chopped coriander and parsley yields an array of complex flavours from an otherwise simple dish.
In this recipe, as I have used my own freshly picked eggplants from the garden, and have skipped the step of salting and draining the liquid. If you believe your eggplant may be bitter then feel free to do salt the scored and cut eggplant allow to stand in the brine for a few minutes then rinse and strain.
- 2 eggplants cut lengthwise
- 1/3 cup 75 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 cup (180ml) plain full-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup unsweetened tahini
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup lemon juice - fresh
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- handful fresh coriander
- handful fresh mint
- handful fresh parsley
- Preheat the grill over medium-high heat to about 200 degree Celsius.
- Make the Fresh Za'atar:
- Quarter eggplant lengthwise and score in a diagonal pattern.
- Make Za'atar Spice rub: Blend, thyme, coriander, cumin, sumac, sesame seeds to make a spice paste.
- With a brush rub the spice rub over the eggplant, making sure some of the rub goes into the scores, and being careful to coat the pieces evenly.
- Spray extra olive oil over the eggplant.
- Grill the eggplant on each cut side for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn it skin-side down and gril for 2 minutes more, or until the eggplantis tender throughout.
- Make the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together, yogurt,tahini garlic, lemon juice, oil and 1/3 cup water.
- Transfer the eggplant to a platter and drizzle with yoghurt tahini sauce. Top with freshly chopped coriander, mint and parley.
Yogurt-Tahini Sauce can be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.