Roasted Eggplant with Silan Techina
Out of the first six cookbooks I ever owned, four were Susie’s. They hold a special place in my heart. After all, I feel like I apprenticed in her kitchen. Through her written instruction I learned that you are meant to add the meat after the onions have become translucent. And that when baking, the dry ingredients are folded into the wet ingredients. Simple cooking practices but seriously eye-opening for the clueless bride I was. There were many kitchen disasters those early married years, most of which I have forgotten and some of which i consciously chose to forget. My husband was a champ. He always gifted me with more cookbooks. I’ve come a long way since those early days, which is quite encouraging when looking back. I need to learn to believe in small steps more fully. It’s those early successes that gave me the courage to continue, to stay curious. Thanks to Susie’s pithy instructions, I came away with something delicious I was proud of. She has a serious Penne a la Vodka I need to revisit.
When I got a sneak peek at her new cookbook, I was interested to see what she could add to her eight (!) other cookbooks. When looking at new books, I expect my curiosity to be piqued and the recipes to be compelling enough for me to want to make them, rather than gloss over the pretty pictures. I also want the flavors to challenge me yet leave me pleasantly surprised. Go, Susie! I immediately wanted to make the Halva Baklava, because, all you need to say is halva and I’m there. But it didn’t work out, so I’m keeping that recipe close by for a different time. I turned to the Roasted Eggplant with Silan Techina and that was just as perfect. I’ve had something similar, where the eggplant is roasted in half and served with a dollop of techina (this one). It’s hopelessly perfect hot from the grill with a heavy dose of chopped cilantro, scooped up with warm pita and a sprinkling of za’atar. It’s sort of an open-faced babaganoush which must be eaten on the spot because it can wait not a minute. But what attracted me to Susie’s is the shift from the savory techina to one that is sweeter (thanks to the silan). I don’t think I’ve ever had sweetened techina, it was a nice change. The silan also gave it a deeper, almost tan color. Add to that the tart pom seeds and the fresh herb (my pick), the whole dish was delicious and complete. Although I wouldn’t oppose a sprinkling of feta cheese for good measure.
Ironically the two recipes that struck me most have Middle Eastern influence, probably for their comfortably familiarity. But Susie shares many other dishes, all inspired by her travels around the world.
You can should peruse the book yourself; just enter this massive, crazy, I-want-to-grab-the-prizes-for-myself giveaway. You get a signed copy of the Kosher by Design cookbooks (all of them, signed!), a Bosch mixer (I hear its beastly, in a very good way), and a $500 Visa gift card (I can think of many things I’d do with that, call me if you need help spending).
You can also enter a smaller giveaway of a signed copy of Kosher by Design Brings it Home right here, in my own small space. All you have to do is leave a comment in this post and/or follow on instagram. Now to the serious stuff, here’s the recipe:
Roasted Eggplant with Silan Techina
from Susie Fishbein’s Kosher by Design Brings it Home
1 cup raw tahini
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup warm water, plus more as needed
1/4 cup silan
3 large, long eggplants
1/3 cup olive oil
pomegranate seeds, for garnish
radishes, for garnish*
scallions, for garnish*
Prepare the silan techina: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal S blade, puree the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, 1/2 cup warm water, and silan. You may need a bit more warm water to thin to desired consistency. Set aside.
For the eggplant: Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, cutting straight through the green stalk. Using a small sharp knife, make 3-4 X marks to score the eggplant flesh without cutting through the skin.
Place the eggplant halves, cut-side up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush them heavily with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes; the flesh should be soft, flavorful, and nicely browned. Remove from the oven; allow to cool.
Transfer the roasted eggplant to a poler or plates for serving. Drizzle on the silan techie; garnish with pomegranate seeds and parsley.
*I did not use those garnishes, but feel free to use them with or without the parsley I used.