Since the last two days have been quick and simple recipes, I figured I would do something a bit fancier for today’s post.
Are you ever in a Doctor’s office or coffee shop flipping through the magazines and come across that amazing looking recipe you want to take home to try? So you very sneakily and quietly, trying not to attract the receptionist’s or cafe staff’s attention, rip the recipe out of the magazine and quickly stuff it into whatever bag or purse you have with you. I know I have done this countless times over the years since I have started being interested in cooking as a teenager. It always leaves me feeling a bit guilty . . . but thank goodness for technology and camera phones; I no longer have this guilt. Now I simply pull my iPhone out a take a picture of whatever amazing looking recipe has caught my attention. This recipe for Spiced Eggplant with Herbed Bulgur Salad, found in January 2012 issue of Bon Appetit magazine, is was one of these recipes that I snapped with my iPhone.
Eggplants are a vegetable that is native to the Indian Subcontinent, has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia, and the first known written record is found in an ancient Chinese agricultural treatise. It is believed that the eggplant was introduced throughout the Mediterranean by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages. The raw flesh of the eggplant can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. Many recipes advise salting, rinsing and draining eggplants to soften it and to reduce the amount of fat absorbed during cooking, but mainly to remove the bitterness that it can have. The flesh is capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, making for very rich dishes, but salting reduces the amount of oil absorbed. Due to its texture and bulk, eggplant makes a great meat substitute in vegan and vegetarian cuisine.
Bulgur is a whole grain, usually sold parboiled and dried, that has a light nutty flavor and is a common ingredient in Armenian, Assyrian, Lebanese, Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean dishes. Bulgur can be used in pilafs, soups, bakery goods, salads, or as stuffing. Its high nutritional value makes it a good substitute for rice or couscous.
I was looking forward to making this dish because of the interesting spice mixture that is brushed on the eggplants before they are roasted, and the combination of sweet, savory, and crunchy ingredients that are mixed through the bulgur salad, and this recipe definitely delivered on the promise of great flavor and spice.
This dish can easily be made dairy free and vegan by leaving off the yogurt, and the bulgur can be substituted with quinoa to make it gluten free.
Spiced Eggplant with Herbed Bulgur Salad
from: Bon Apetit, January 2012
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons preserved lemon peel, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 medium eggplants (9-10 ounces each), halved lengthwise
- 1 cup quick cooking bulgur
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives or capers
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup currants
- 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh coriander, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup pistachios, toasted and lightly crushed
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup Greek style yogurt
Preheat ovem to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup oil, the next seven ingredients, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Score the flesh of each eggplant half with 15mmor 1/2 inch deep diagonal crisscrossing lines, spacing 40mm or 1 inch apart (do not cut through the skin). Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over each cut side, allowing it to soak in. Season lightly with salt. Brush or spoon spice mix on each half diving it equally. Place eggplants, cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until soft ( about 50 – 60 min).
While eggplant is cooking, place bulgur in a large bowl and cover with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Let soak for 45 minutes to soften and absorb water. Stir in olives or capers, onion, currants, parsley, 1/2 cup coriander, pistachios, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and then let sit for at least 30 minutes for flavors to meld.
Serve at room temperature, with a dallop of greek yogurt on top of the bulgur salad and coriander to garnish.