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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Oven Roasted Eggplant with Za'atar

Eggplant is so sexy I just can't get over it!
The purple skin, the firmness of the raw flesh.
It's so "coquin" the way it becomes a creamy delight when cooked, and the way it pairs so hand in hand with quality olive oil and a minimum of fuss.
Here is somewhat of a recreation of something I ate at an Armenian fast food place in Gap.  It was a very large half eggplant, roasted, and topped with kebab meat and a tahini yogurt sauce accompanied with bulgur wheat.  The whole thing was good, but the texture of that roasted eggplant has been lingering in my mind ever since.
Tonight, I kept it simple, but again, that sexy purple vegetable just shines through and makes the whole world smile..
well, that's my perception of life right now.
Serves 1
1 small eggplant, sliced lengthwise 
1 tsp thyme
sprinkle fleur de sel
a few cracks of black pepper
2 tsp za'atar
4-6 tbsp excellent quality olive oil (mine was homemade by a friend)
1.  Cut diamond shapes into the eggplant halves without slicing through the skin.
2.  Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, thyme, and za'atar and rub it all into the crevices.
3.  Brush the olive oil onto each half.  It should absorb it, but its good stuff, so don't worry.
4.  Roast for 40-50 minutes at 200°C 400°F.

Optional (and not pictured)
Serve with some tahini garlic yogurt sauce.  The photo was ugly, so I didn't post it, but it was really mind-blowing for something so simple.
I served with some eggs sunny side up and some roasted carrots.
I don't know what my deal is with roasted carrots these days, but I can't get over how delicious they are.. plus, I can't get over that orange color!!
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