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GRILLED EGGPLANT WITH ROASTED RED PEPPER TAHINI SAUCE AND ALMONDS

One of my FAVORITE things about traveling has to be the food. Experiencing different dishes and cuisines all over the world broadens and dignifies your palate. I had a similar dish at one of me favorite restaurant in Amman, Jordan, called Majdoline. It is a Lebanese restaurant with not so traditional Middle Eastern dishes. Every dish I tried there was amazing, each better than the other.

This dish is one of my new top dishes. It is a delicious, vegan, healthy appetizer, side dish, or even a main course. I love using Italian Eggplants for this dish. Although, if you can’t find them you could use any kind of eggplant. Italian eggplant is distinct. It’s quite large and fat, and the flesh tends to be more tender. Another ingredient in this dish is roasted garlic. This process brings out a whole new side to garlic: it caramelizes, mellowing out the harshness of raw garlic, and bringing out a slight sweetness in the garlic! It adds so much depth of flavor to this dish and so many others. Another main ingredient is roasted red bell peppers. When it comes to bell peppers, roasting transforms them into tender and flavorful strips that taste amazing on their own, in sandwiches or salads, or as an addition to a charcuterie board. You could buy them from the store or make your own. Let’s just say, everyone fell in love with this dish!

Ingredients:

  • 5 Italian Eggplants

  • 1 head of garlic

  • 6 tablespoon olive oil, divided

  • 3 red bell peppers

  • 1 yellow onion

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1 cup tahini

  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • 1/2 cup Slivered Almonds

Directions:

  1. Slice eggplants, without cutting tops so the eggplant stays intact, into 5 or 6 slices.

  2. Please each eggplant into a foil and wrap tightly.

  3. Place them on your grill or place in oven, turning occasionally.

  4. Chop the top off a head of garlic so that the top of each clove is exposed. Wrap the head of garlic in foil, leaving the top open.

  5. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil into the foil-wrapped garlic, making sure it covers each clove. Wrap foil up tightly and place head of garlic on a baking sheet.

  6. Half and de-seed the red peppers. Roast them and the garlic in the oven at 425 degrees F about 30 minutes or till the peppers appear wilted and slightly charred.

  7. In the meantime, sauté onions in a pan, using 2 tablespoon olive oil.

  8. When the peppers are done cooking, remove them from the oven and let cool. Use your fingers to peel off the outer layer of skin. Placing them in a ziplock bag for 5 minutes can help speed up this process.

  9. Add the tahini and Aleppo pepper to the food processor and with the it running, slowly drizzle water into the mixture until reaching a creamy consistency.

  10. Add a bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper to the sauce, taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.

  11. Place the roasted peppers, sautéed onions, and roasted garlic into the tahini and combine until the peppers are broken down. Your sauce shouldn’t be too watery or too thick. If your final product is too thick, add water gradually till it reaches the right texture.

  12. In a pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the raw slivered almonds. Toast until the are golden. Careful not to burn them, they go from golden to burnt and brown very fast.

  13. Once the eggplants have cooked, remove from oven or grill and let cool. When it has cooled and can be handled, open foils and transfer eggplants to serving dish fanning it out.

  14. Pour desired amount of sauce onto each eggplant.

  15. Top the dish with the toasted almonds and garnish with parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: Serve the extra sauce on the side for people to add more if they want.

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