In these last few weeks of being cooped up at home a lot, I have enjoyed using this time to embark on numerous cooking projects. One of these weeks I primarily cooked from Yotam Ottolenghi’s books (of which I have several, and they are all wonderful). With a local Turkish store still being open I have had access to the ingredients that a lot of these recipes revolve around. Cue in this divine method of roasting an eggplant, blanketing it in an exciting, herby bulgar salad and finishing with dollops of thick Greek yoghurt. This is just a brilliant combination of flavours and textures – genius maybe?
If your kitchen is reasonably stocked with Middle Eastern type ingredients, you should be pretty good to go here. The only ingredient that may be a little harder to find are the preserved lemons, but in saying that I have either had trouble tracking them down, or upon finding them, seen the price tag and walked away. The most basic recipe for these is pretty much lemons in water with rock salt, so not a particularly expensive project. As they are preserved, even if you only use them every now and then, they will keep very well.
So if you haven’t already got on the Ottolenghi bandwagon, here’s a great (and tasty) reason to hop on.
Ottolenghi’s Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgar and Yoghurt
For the Eggplant
- 2 medium eggplants
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 2 tbsp preserved lemon peel finely chopped
- 140 ml olive oil divided
For the Bulgar
- 150 g fine bulgar
- 50 g sultanas
- 10 g fresh coriander chopped
- 10 g fresh mint chopped
- 50 g green olives pitted and halved
- 30 g flaked almonds
- 3 spring onions thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- 120 g Greek yoghurt
- Fresh coriander to garnish
For the Eggplant
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- To make the chermoula combine the crushed garlic, cumin, coriander, chilli flakes, paprika and preserved lemon peel in a small bowl and then stir in about 2/3 of the olive oil.
- Cut the eggplants in half length-ways and then score the flesh of each half with a diagonal crisscross pattern, making sure you don't cut all the way through.
- Place your eggplant halves face up on a baking tray and spread the chermoula mix over each, getting it into the cuts you made. Place the tray into the preheated oven and bake for about 40 minutes until the eggplants are completely tender.
For the Bulgar
- While the eggplants are roasting, boil the kettle, and place the bulgar in a large bowl. Once it boils, pour enough over the bulgar that it is just submerged. Place a lid or plate over the bowl while it soaks.
- Soak the sultanas in some warm water for about 10 minutes to plump them up, then drain and add to the bulgar with the remaining 1/3 of the olive oil not used in the chermoula.
- Add the chopped herbs, olives, flaked almonds, spring onions and lemon juice to the bulgar and stir to combine, adding salt to taste.
- Place a warm (or room temp) eggplant half on a plate and spoon a portion of the bulgar salad over the top. Dollop on some of the Greek yoghurt and finish with a smattering of chopped coriander and a drizzle of olive oil.