I have ranted and raved about celebrity chefs on this blog in the past. Probably more ranting than raving. Yotam Ottolenghi (oh-toe-leng-he) is one of the good ones. Though I haven’t been to one of his many famous London restaurants, I can only imagine that they are very delicious. I can also say that he has the rare talent of translating restaurant recipes into recipes for the home cook without dumbing them down. I’m very much enjoying his Jerusalem cookbook. Here is my take on his “Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce.” I’ve done away with the buttermilk altogether and made some serious modifications to the spice profile. This makes a perfect light fall supper if you are one of those people who still calls eating between 6pm and 9pm supper.
Roasted Eggplants with Yogurt Sauce
2 large and long eggplants
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, very finely minced (garlic press is best)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon pine nuts
2 sprigs of fresh cilantro
1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Cut the eggplants in half and score in a diagonal grid pattern. Your knife should go about 1/2 inch deep and be careful not to pierce the skin at the bottom.
2. On a large baking sheet, drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil and place the eggplant halves face up. Brush them generously with olive oil. In a small bowl, mix together the thyme, cumin, coriander and 5 spice powder. Sprinkle this mixture all over the eggplants and roast for about 30 minutes or until the flesh is soft and the edges begin to burn.
3. While the eggplants cool slightly, heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Toast the pine nuts for about 2 minutes or until they start to burn.
4. Mix together the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.
5. Spoon the sauce over the eggplants and garnish with pine nuts and cilantro.