- Servings: 2
2 good-sized Asian eggplants
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped (if not available, swap zest of 1 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon harissa (North African spice paste — you can substitute another chili paste of your choosing)
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used basmati rice, cooked up with a pinch of turmeric, which for reasons too ridiculous to go into I'd just cooked up for the dog)
3 scallions, sliced into rounds
1 bunch parsley, washed and coarsely chopped
1 handful cilantro, washed and coarsely chopped
1 small handful mint, washed and coarsely chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
glug of olive oil
sumac (optional — available in Middle Eastern stores)
2 handfuls arugula
tahini sauce or yogurt beaten with a bit of salt and crushed garlic
Preheat your oven to 400°. Cut the eggplants in half the long way, then score them in a 1-inch crosshatch (cutting through the flesh, but not the skin). Place on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, spices, lemon, salt and harissa. Spread this mixture evenly on the eggplant halves — eggplant wants to sop up oil like a sponge, so spread the mixture quickly so it doesn't all get sucked into one area. Place in the oven and roast until butter-soft (~45 minutes).
While the eggplant is cooking, prepare your rice (if you don't have some pre-cooked). Place the scallions, fresh herbs, lemon juice, and olive oil. If your rice is warm, allow to cool slightly (if it's cool, rewarm it back to a bit warmer than room temperature). Tip the rice into the bowl, and toss with the herbs. Sprinkle with sumac and salt to taste.
When the eggplant is done, remove from the oven, and allow to cool slightly. Place a handful of arugula and half the pilaf on each of two plates. Add two eggplant halves, and serve with tahini or yogurt sauce.