This recipe uses specific techniques and pairings to maximise the flavours of simple vegetables. The biggest obstacle is trying to remain humble as your dinner guest showers you with much-deserved praise for such a delicious piece of art!
You will need
- 2 elongated eggplants, firm, light and shiny (or only 1 if it's particularly thick)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
Spicy Green Sauce
- 8 green chillies
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 small bunch coriander
- Pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon lemon
- Small pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 large tomatoes
Recipe: Afik Gal
30 mins to prep
1.5 hours to bake
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
With a sharp knife, slice two long, flat sides off the eggplants so they resembles 3cm-thick steaks. (If using one thicker eggplant you may get two steaks from it.) Then peel the skin off the edge of the steaks, but leave the top (stalk) on so they're still recognisable as eggplants.
Pour a drop of olive oil in the palm of your hands and coat the eggplant from all sides, so its spongy flesh can absorb the oil. (Avoid burdening the eggplant with too much oil -- it's like a 'tanning oil', if you will!)
Place the eggplant slices on a tray covered in parchment paper, with the inner seed-filled sides facing up. Leave 1cm space between slices. Season with salt and place in the oven. The eggplants should be ready in 1.5 hours, or when they’ve softened and turned golden. At that point, pull them out and leave them on the tray to cool to room temperature.
While the eggplant is baking, prepare the other elements: Slice the chillies lengthways and remove the tops and seeds; roughly chop. Add the chillies, garlic, coriander and salt to a small blender and pulse to chop them into a fine salsa consistency. Pour the mixture into a small bowl, cover with extra virgin olive oil and stir through.
Place tahini in a bowl, and add the lemon juice and salt (add a little and taste as you go to ensure you maintain the nutty flavour of the tahini). While stirring, slowly add your water. You're aiming for the consistency of a creamy but pourable sauce.
To prepare the tomato foam, roughly chop the tomatoes and add to a blender. Blitz until smooth and foamy. Pour the foam into a sieve and let sit over a bowl -- this will help remove some liquid from the foam before you serve it.
Now time to let your inner Picasso shine: Strain the tomato foam onto the centre of a flat plate, using a spoon to get the foam flowing through the sieve. Then drizzle over some tahini, and gently spin the plate to spread your foam-tahini pattern toward the edges of the plate, creating a unique (and most certainly beautiful) pattern.
Place one chunk of eggplant in the plate, and scatter a few teaspoons of the spicy green sauce across the eggplant and the plate to serve.
Recipe: Afik Gal