Roasted Eggplant with Tomato and Buttermilk Sauce

Eggplant Base:

  • 2 medium or large eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 large cloves)
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

Tomato Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 pounds red, ripe tomatoes (3 large), chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Small handful finely chopped chives

Buttermilk Sauce

  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Scattering of dried mint and ground sumac (or ground coriander and paprika, or thyme and rosemary, or cumin and cinnamon)
  • Olives and/or fresh herbs to garnish, if desired

Cut stems off, and cut each eggplant in half lengthwise, straight through the green stem. Cut three or four parallel diagonal slits in the flesh with a small knife, being careful not to cut all the way through the bottom or sides of the eggplant. Then turn each half 90 degrees and cut three or four more perpendicular slits so you get a diamond pattern.

Place the eggplant halves on a well-greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle each half generously with salt, working it gently into the slits with your fingertips. Set it aside for 30 minutes to an hour, until the eggplant has “sweat” out some of its juices.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel and mince the garlic cloves. When the eggplant feels wet to the touch, squeeze out the liquid and rinse off the salt. Press the minced garlic cloves into the slits of each eggplant half. Brush the top of each half generously with olive oil (about one tablespoon per half) until the eggplant absorbs it. Sprinkle kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper over the top of each half. Bake for approximately one hour, until eggplant flesh is golden brown and tender to the touch.

While eggplant is baking, make the tomato topping: heat olive oil in a large pan. Saute onion over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add tomato, sugar, salt, and crushed red pepper, continue to cook until tomato is soft, another 5 minutes or so. Remove pan from heat. Stir in lemon juice and chopped parsley. Set aside.

Then make the buttermilk sauce: Mix yogurt, buttermilk, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

When eggplant is finished baking, remove from oven and let cool for five minutes. Spoon one-quarter of the tomato topping lengthwise down the middle of each half. Then spoon a few tablespoons of the yogurt sauce over that. Sprinkle desired spices over the sauce. Add olives or fresh herbs to garnish.

From DCist. Serves 4

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