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Wolfgang Puck Recipes
Enjoy this Moroccan-Style Grilled Eggplant as a dip with wedges of toasted pita bread or squares of flatbread. Or dish up this Moroccan-Style Grilled Eggplant as a puree alongside your main dish, as a combination sauce and vegetable.
Grilling is a perfect way to cook eggplant. Roasted whole above the fire, its flesh develops a silky-smooth consistency and takes on an intoxicatingly rich flavor as its skin chars. Once the eggplant cools, you simply cut the eggplant in half, scoop out its flesh with a spoon, and discard the skins. The same thing happens when you roast whole heads of garlic, wrapped in foil to prevent their dry skins from charring too badly.
Combine the eggplant and garlic with a few other ingredients, including olive oil, vinegar, and seasonings, and the result is a thick, luscious puree. In the recipe here, I include the Moroccan spice blend known as za'atar, a mixture of dried herbs such as oregano and thyme, sesame seeds, tangy sumac, salt, and other seasonings. You can find it in Middle Eastern markets and well-stocked supermarkets; or you could also blend together those seasonings to make your own version, or simply substitute other herbs and spices you like.
Once you've stirred up the mixture, it's ready to serve.
With very little effort, you've used the grill to make a sensational addition to your meal.
Moroccan-Style Grilled Eggplant
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Moroccan-Style Grilled Eggplant Ingredients
4 pounds eggplants
1 head garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3/4 pound sun-ripened organic tomatoes, cored, halved, seeded, and diced
1 cup aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons za'atar Moroccan spice blend
1/2 cup minced organic Italian parsley
Toasted pita wedges or flatbread pieces (optional)
Moroccan-Style Grilled Eggplant Recipe Instructions
Preheat an outdoor grill.
Rub the head of garlic all over with a little olive oil.
Wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil and place on the grill, in a spot where the fire beneath is medium-hot, usually toward the edge.
Prick the eggplants in a few places with a table fork. Place them on the grill, turning the frequently with tongs, until their skins are evenly charred and the eggplants feel very tender but not yet mushy, 15 to 20 minutes. (If the eggplants appear to be charring too quickly, move them toward the side of the grill rack where the fire is a bit cooler.) Remove from the grill to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile, when the garlic feels tender, giving easily when the packet is carefully squeezed with a grilling glove, 20 to 30 minutes, remove the packet from the grill and place on the rack to cool.
While the eggplants and garlic are cooling, cut the onion into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper and grill until lightly charred on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and set aside.
When the eggplants are cool, cut them in half lengthwise. Use a tablespoon to scrape out the flesh from each half. Chop finely on a cutting board and transfer to a mixing bowl.
Chop the onion slices and add them to the eggplant.
Remove the garlic from the foil packet. Separate the cloves and, with your fingers, squeeze out the garlic puree from each clove into the bowl, discarding the garlic skins.
Put the cumin in a small, dry skillet. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until the cumin turns fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cumin to the bowl along with the tomatoes, vinegar, and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Stir well. Add more sugar along with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in za'atar to taste, along with the remaining olive oil and the parsley. Serve at room temperature, with toasted pita or flatbread pieces as a dip or alongside grilled lamb, pork, or chicken as a side dish.
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Moroccan-Style Grilled Eggplant - Wolfgang Puck Recipes
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