I served this eggplant mezze plate yesterday as a starter for lunch with friends. I used eggplants in two ways – thinly sliced and roasted with smoked salt and olive oil, and also roasted whole, with a head of garlic, to turn into a dip. They tasted delicious on top of toasted pita bread with a dollop of homemade labneh and rose harissa. The labneh was made from my very first batch of homemade yoghurt, which I learnt to make at a workshop with https://kristenallan.com.au It tasted pretty good, if I may say so myself!
Eggplants (Solanum melongena), also known as aubergine and brinjal, originate from tropical Asia. They’re used extensively in Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisine. They vary in shape, size and colour, and they can be cooked in many ways. Think of the French rataouille, the Greek moussaka, the Italian eggplant parmigiana, or the baba ganoush of the Middle East, just to name a few dishes.
Mezze, meze, or mazza, is a selection of small dishes served as an appetizer in parts of the Middle East, the Balkans, Greece and North Africa. I love to serve mezze plates to keep my guests happy while I’m preparing the main meal. All of the components can be made in advance and arranged on a pretty platter. If you’re looking for another dish for your eggplant mezze platte, you might like to try https://atamandastable.com.au/fig-and-olive-herb-paste/
What’s your favourite way to cook eggplant?
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Eggplant Mezze Plate
- 2 eggplants
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups olive oil
- 1 head garlic
- 1 400g tin chick peas, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 lemons, zest and juice
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
- flaked sea salt or smoked salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
- Line 2 baking trays with paper for the sliced eggplant, and line a third tray or small dish for the whole eggplant.
- Pierce the whole eggplant a few times with a skewer, put it in the dish/tray, together with the whole head of garlic and then tranfer it into the oven.
- Slice one eggplant thinly, with the slices as even as possible, and arrange on the tray.
- Mix 1/4 cup olive oil in a dish with 1/2 tsp of your favourite salt (I like to use smoked salt for this dish), and brush each eggplant slice, top and bottom with the mixture, and put into the oven.
- Cook the eggplant slices for about 20 minutes until they turn golden. Remove from the oven, and and set aside to cool.
- Cook the whole eggplant for about 45 minutes, until it is soft and malleable when pressed with your fingers. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Put the eggplant slices in a jar and pour olive oil over the top to immerse them, then store in the fridge.
- While the eggplant is cooking, dry toast the cumin seeds, then grind them in a spice grinder or pound them with a mortar and pestle.
- When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, chop it roughly and tip it into a large bowl.
- Squeeze the cloves of garlic out of their skins into the bowl with the chopped eggplant
- Add the tahini, 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon zest and juice, 1 tbsp cumin seeds and mix with a handheld blender, or puree with a food processor. Season to taste. Add more lemon juice and olive oil if you think it needs it.
- Serev immediately with a drizzle of olive oil and the remaining cumin seed on top. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.