This Meatless Monday meal is brought to you by one of my favorite cookbooks. Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi is a fantastic book filled with recipes that are inspired by the Middle East, and contains many spices and ingredients I have never heard of. Cooking from this book is a fun way for me to experiment in the kitchen, and one of the best meals I’ve made was straight from these recipes.
A few months ago I tried the sabih & zhoug recipe in the book and we loved it. Since then it’s become a staple in our dinner rotation; partly because it’s incredibly easy to make and partly because it’s so tasty.Sabih is fried eggplant and boiled eggs stuffed into a pita, and is usually found as a street food in Israel. The zhoug is a spicy sauce, almost like a hot chimichurri that can go on top of the sabih or used for a variety of other dishes. It was fun to make, and I bet it would freeze well, but since I made the recipe for the first time I haven’t gone through the process of blending all of the spices together to make the zhoug. Instead of the zhoug we usually add Sriracha for a nice zip, that is complimented well by the cooling cucumber salad and tahini sauce.
In the above shot I added feta cheese on top and instead of frying the eggplant (which can be labor intensive and messy) I sliced it up and popped it into the oven to bake while I assembled the rest of the ingredients. This is a super simple flavorful dish that is definitely a crowd pleaser.
Pita with Eggplant and Boiled Egg
Adapted from Jerusalem (original recipe here) – serves four
1 jar of tahini sauce (Trader Joe’s carries this – otherwise you can make your own with tahini paste, water, lemon, and garlic from the original recipe in the link above)
1 cucumber, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbl olive oil
6 eggs, boiled and cooled
2 large eggplants, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
1. Preheat oven to 375 and slice eggplant. If you want to pull out moisture from the eggplant you can sprinkle the sliced rounds with salt and allow them to sit while the oven is pre-heating. Once the oven is ready just dab the ends with a paper towel to pull out excess water. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and either spray with cooking oil or coat with a bit of olive oil. Lay the eggplant rounds flat and season with salt & pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until eggplant is easily pierced with a fork. Slice into strips once eggplant has cooled a bit.
2. Assemble the salad. Mix together chopped tomatoes, cucumber, onion, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Set aside to let the flavors meld before adding to pita.
3. Hard boil/slice eggs. Cooking the eggs ahead of time saves you a bit of time, but it can still be done while the eggplant is baking. Simply boil water and drop the eggs in for 10 minutes. To cool them rapidly transfer to a large bowl of water and ice and let them sit in it for 5-10 minutes. They should be ready to peel once the eggplant is done baking and can be cut into quarters or slices for the pita.
4. Make your pita! Spread tahini sauce over pita, then top with strips of eggplant, the salad mixture, and quartered eggs. If you have feta cheese you can add that as well and also top with Sriracha just like we like to.
This would make a great family meal and easy for the kids to assemble once all of the ingredients have cooled down. If you’re worried about the mess you can also find pita pockets and make more of a sandwich, or leave the salad for the side and eat with a fork.