Charred Whole Eggplant with Crushed Tomatoes, Basil, and Mint Recipe

Girl crush doesn’t do justice for how much we adore chef Eden Grinshpan. Her NYC restaurant DEZ was one of our favorites, her Instagram stories have us doubled over in laughter and now she has come out with her first cookbook, Eating Out Loud, that we are poring over! All the recipes look amazing, but this eggplant dish was at the top of our list to make and it does not disappoint. Join in on the fun!

INGREDIENTS:

3 medium eggplants
1 medium tomato
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon za’atar, storebought or homemade
1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
⅓ cup fresh basil leaves
⅓ cup fresh mint leaves
Flaky sea salt
Thick slices of sourdough

PREPARATION:

With the tip of your knife, pierce each eggplant in two places—it doesn’t need to be perfect or in the same place every time; this is just so the eggplant doesn’t explode on you.

Pick a cooking method for the eggplant: grill, broiler, or stovetop burners. The bottom line is that you want this eggplant to be almost unrecognizably charred. It’s going to deflate and the skin will get white in some places, but that just means the fire is working its magic on that eggplant.

OPTION 1: Grill Preheat the grill until hot. Add the eggplants and let the fire do its thing, making sure to keep turning the eggplants so they char all over. You want them to get black and maybe even white in some places, 20 to 30 minutes total.

OPTION 2: Broil Preheat the broiler. Put the eggplants in a broiler proof roasting pan and place the pan as close to the heating element as possible. (You may have to adjust your oven rack to accommodate the depth of the pan and eggplants.) Broil until they are evenly charred all over, 35 to 40 minutes, checking and turning the eggplants periodically. You want the eggplants to keep their shape but get really charred and wilted.

OPTION 3: Stovetop Gas Burners. Line your stovetop around your burners with foil. Working with one at a time, place the eggplant over a medium flame and let it char, making sure to turn it every 5 minutes. Continue cooking until it is deflated and black all over, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the cooked eggplants to a colander in the sink and let the juices run. (The juices can make the dish taste bitter.) Once they’re cool enough to handle, and being careful to maintain the original shape, remove all of the eggplant skin except for the stem. Set aside on a large platter.

In a blender or food processor, blend together the tomato with the kosher salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the za’atar and olive oil. Set aside.

Gently press on the eggplant flesh with a fork to spread it out. Drizzle the eggplants with the garlicky tahini and spoon over the pureed tomato. Drizzle with the za’atar oil. Garnish with the basil and mint and finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Serve warm with fresh sourdough.

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