This is quick becoming one of our summer favorites (up there with Bun Chay, Taco Salad, and Sicilian Stir Fry). Despite doing this CSA thing for the past five plus years, our kids are still not fans of eggplant and zucchini. Curtis and I are still kinda iffy on both of those as well, especially zucchini.
Well, this recipe has no zucchini. It does use eggplant and cucumbers. We love this and have adapted it to the kids by also adding some grilled marinated chicken breasts. Everyone's happy. First bite and once again, I remember how wonderful summer can be.
This recipe calls for savory mango pickles. Some day, I hope to have the time to locate those (I know what store to look at, I just haven't braved it this summer with three kids in tow), so I am leaving them in the recipe.
adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
2 large eggplants (or 3 - 4 small or medium ones), peeled leaving a zebra like pattern (one strip peeled, one peel left on, etc)
1 1/4 c sunflower or canola oil
1/2 - 1 lb seasoned chicken breasts
sourdough bread, ciabatta bread, or fresh pita (I usually use bread)
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
savory mango pickle (optional)
2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
2 small cucumbers (1 med-lg), diced (if you use a large one, peel and seed cucumber as well)
1 1/2 T parsley
2/3 c tahini
1/2 c water
2 T lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
1 1/4 oz cilantro (thin stems ok)
1/3 oz parsley (thin stems ok)
1 - 2 hot green chiles, coarsely chopped
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t cardamom
1/4 t cloves
pinch of sugar
1/4 t salt
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
2 T olive oil
2 T water
Cut eggplants widthwise into slices 1 inch thick. Sprinkle them on both sides with salt, spread on baking sheet or kitchen towel, and let stand for at least 30 minutes (this helps remove some of the water). Pat dry with paper towels or clean kitchen towels.
While the eggplants sweat, prepare the tahini sauce. In a small bowl, combine tahini, water, and lemon juice. The consistency should be of honey or a little runnier. Add a little extra water if needed. Taste and add salt as desired. Sauce can be store in the fridge for up to a week, just stir well before using (and add a little more water if needed).
Prepare the zhoug. Finely chop all the zhoug ingredients (not including olive oil or water). Add the water and olive oil and combine to make a coarse paste. If you have a small food processor, you could also pulse all the ingredients (including olive oil and water) until you have a coarse paste. Zhoug will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks (but ours never lasts that long!).
After the eggplant have sweated for 30 minutes or so, heat the sunflower or canola oil in a heavy frying pan. Make sure the oil is very hot (it almost looks like it starts swirling around in the pan by itself, it shouldn't smoke though, and you definitely don't want it catching on fire) and fry the eggplant slices in batches until nice and dark. Flip the eggplants once. Add oil if needed. When the eggplant is done, it should be nice and squishy in the center. Remove and drain on paper towels. While the eggplant fries, grill the chicken.
To serve: Slice the chicken into thin strips. Put the hardboiled eggs, diced tomatoes, diced cucumbers, and mango pickles on a platter. I don't mix things together because we all like different combinations. Put the parsley in a little bowl and serve the lemon slices as well.
Make the eggplant and chicken into open-faced sandwiches. Spoon tahini sauce over the bread. Follow with eggplant slices (or chicken), some more tahini sauce, eggs, tomato, cucumbers, and top with zhoug. If desired, you can squeeze a lemon over top or season with salt and pepper.