Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur and Yogurt

Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur

There is much excitement among our three grown children and their significant others (all foodies) around my tasting partner’s foray into vegan and vegetarian foods.  And yes, to me, it most certainly is an invasion into an enemy camp (veganism) but one that I am dealing with.  I have discovered what my younger foodies have already known: the highly talented chef Yotem Ottenlenghi, author of both Plenty and Jerusalem cookbooks.  I recently prepared Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur and Yogurt and it was a huge success.  The contrasting textures, between the silky smooth cooked eggplant and the bulgur salad, and the chermoula, a mixture of spices rubbed into the eggplant before cooking, was truly inspiring.   My tasting partner declared this a homerun and hopefully the foodies think so too.

Recipe after the jump

Chermoula Eggplant With Bulgur and Yogurt

2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon peel (recipe below)
2/3 cup olive oil, plus extra to finish
2 medium eggplants
1 cup fine bulgur
2/3 cup boiling water
1/3 cup golden raisins
3 1/2 tablespoons warm water
1/3 ounce (2 teaspoons) cilantro, chopped, plus extra to finish
1/3 ounce (2 teaspoons) mint, chopped
1/3 cup pitted green olives, halved
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. To make the chermoula, mix together in a small bowl the garlic, cumin, coriander, chili, paprika, preserved lemon, the olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Score the flesh of each half with deep, diagonal crisscross cuts, making sure not to pierce the skin. Spoon the chermoula over each half, spreading it evenly, and place the eggplant halves on a baking sheet, cut side up. Put in the oven and roast for 40 minutes, or until the eggplants are completely soft.

4. Meanwhile, place the bulgur in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water.

5. Soak the raisins in the warm water. After 10 minutes, drain the raisins and add them to the bulgur, along with the remaining oil. Add the herbs, olives, almonds, green onions, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

6. Serve the eggplants warm or at room temperature. Place 1/2 eggplant, cut side up, on each individual plate. Spoon the bulgur on top, allowing some to fall from both sides. Spoon over some yogurt, sprinkle with cilantro and finish with a drizzle of oil.

Yield: 4 servings
I did not top the eggplants with yogurt, in keeping with our vegan slant.

Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons


1 cup Kosher salt
6 lemons, thin skinned
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
boiling water
1 glass jar, canning or other attractive, heat resistant glass jar

Scrub lemons. Cut through into quarters, leaving the base intact.

Pack the salt into the cut center of the lemons.

Place the lemons into the jar. Depending on the shape of the jar and the size of the lemons, not all six may fit. They should be really close.

Pour in the lemon juice. If necessary top with boiling water to within 1/4 inch of the top. Use a knife to eliminate any air pockets. Tighten the lid.

Store in a cool, dark place for three weeks. Check occasionally and shake gently.

Once opened, store in the refrigerator. 

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