Tomato Salad With Smoky Eggplant Flatbread
Buy lavash or pita at a local Middle Eastern market, heat the flatbreads in a skillet or toaster oven, and smear them with this delicious eggplant spread, enriched with spices and tahini and pleasantly smoky from a cook over an open flame. Serve the flatbreads with this Turkish-style tomato salad, a variation on one I learned in Istanbul from the Turkish chef Gamze Ineceli. Hers is more traditional — finely chopped tomato is customary — but you can also choose the colorful cherry tomatoes at the market and cut them in halves or quarters.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1large eggplant (about 1 pound)
- 4tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2tablespoons tahini
- 2small garlic cloves, grated
- 2tablespoons plain whole-milk yogurt
- ½teaspoon toasted ground cumin
- Pinch of ground cayenne
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Salt and pepper
- 1small red onion, finely diced
- 2tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- ½teaspoon sumac
- 3cups chopped tomatoes, preferably a mix of larger multicolored tomatoes and cherry tomatoes (about 1 pound)
- ½cup chopped toasted walnuts
- Warm lavash or pita bread, for serving
- 3tablespoons chopped dill, for garnish
- 3tablespoons parsley, for garnish
- 3tablespoons chopped mint leaves, for garnish
Step 1Set the whole, unpeeled eggplant directly over a bed of hot coals, over the open flame of a gas burner at full blast or under the broiler. With a paring knife or skewer, poke a few holes into the eggplant to allow steam to escape. Let the skin of the eggplant blacken and blister, turning the eggplant continuously until it is soft, collapsed and completely charred, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 2Set the cooked eggplant on a chopping board, and, when cool enough to handle, cut in half from top to bottom. Let cool to room temperature (about 15 minutes), then scoop out flesh with a spoon, discarding any large seed pockets. Tear or roughly chop eggplant flesh and put in a medium bowl.
Step 3Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, tahini, garlic, yogurt, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Beat mixture with a fork, leaving it somewhat rough. Set aside to let flavors meld at room temperature, then taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a serving dish.
Step 4Put diced onion in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add pomegranate molasses, sumac and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Step 5Add chopped tomatoes and fold into onion mixture, sprinkling with a bit more salt, if necessary. Transfer to a serving dish and top with walnuts.
Step 6Spread eggplant mixture on pieces of warm lavash or pita, keeping the edges clear, and arrange on a platter. Spoon some of the tomato mixture onto each piece. Sprinkle dill, parsley and mint liberally over it all.