If you’re part of a CSA, you know that there are always a couple of veggies that appear once too often to really inspire you. For the Accidental Locavore, that vegetable is eggplant. It’s not that I don’t like eggplant, I actually love the stuff; it’s just that my husband doesn’t. This, from bon appétit, looked interesting (to me anyway) and serves 4:
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 small eggplants, sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds
- 1 tablespoon za’atar
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lemon, very thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon Sherry or white wine vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove, grated
- 1 cup labneh (Lebanese strained yogurt), or Greek yogurt
Meanwhile, toss eggplant, za’atar, 3 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper in another medium bowl. Grill eggplant, turning often, until tender and charred in spots, 5–8 minutes; transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Halve any large rounds; set aside.
In a small bowl, toss lemon with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper. Grill lemon, turning often, until lightly charred in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and let cool slightly. Cut lemon slices in half and add to bowl with onion. Stir in mint, Sherry vinegar, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and pepper. In another small bowl mix garlic and labneh. Spoon labneh mixture onto a platter and arrange eggplant and onion mixture over it. Serve and enjoy!
My verdict: A huge hit! This was so good that Frank, the eggplant avoider, had seconds, declaring that it was the best thing I’d made in a long time. It was delicious! The grilled eggplant was a nice contrast to the creamy labneh and the crunch of the onions. We were also lucky because the eggplant, mint and onions were all from the farm, so fresh and local. I need to remember how good grilled lemons or limes are and use them more often! I used labneh which I got at Murray’s in the city, you can often find it in better grocery stores, but if you can’t, a thick Greek yogurt would be fine. If you don’t have access to a grill, either a grill pan or roasting everything on sheet pans in about a 400° oven would probably work fine. Give this a try and see if it’s as big a hit at your house.