Monday, July 1, 2013

Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Tahini & Pine Nuts

Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Tahini & Pine Nuts
Makes about 2 dozen
Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Tahini & Pine Nuts

Eggplant, grilled or roasted in the oven, is a Middle-Eastern favorite. This Israeli style recipe serves them with Tahini sauce. This one-bite hors d’oeuvre is very simple to prepare. I like them hot from the oven or made ahead, chilled and later assembled and served at room temperature.  Either way – they are a perfect start to most any meal and also very healthy.
  • 2 med Japanese eggplants, sliced crosswise ½” thick
  • 3 Tb olive oil
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 oz goat cheese, softened
  • ¼ C tahini
  • 2 Tb fresh lemon juice
  • ½ preserved lemon rind, finely chopped (optional) – see below
  • 1 Tb honey
  • ¼ C water
  • 2 Tb toasted pine nuts, for garnish
  • 2 tsp finely chopped oregano, for garnish of the show!
Heat oven to 425 degree F.  Place eggplant in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Combine olive oil and paprika in a bowl, brush about 2 Tb over eggplant, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in oven, turning once, until golden, about 20 minutes; set aside.

Toasting pine nuts gives them roasty flavor, browns them, and makes them firmer,too. It is easiest to do in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Shake the skillet frequently to ensure even browning - the pine nuts are small and full of rich oil, and will burn quickly if you do not watch carefully.  When the nuts are fragrant and lightly browned, take the pan off the heat. Transfer the pine nuts to a plate to cool.
Sliced eggplant before cooking

Toasted to a golden brown

Combine goat cheese, tahini, lemon juice, preserved lemon, honey, salt and pepper and ¼ C water in a bowl.  Top each round with 1-2 tsp of the cheese mixture and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and oregano. Serve to accolades knowing you have provided a healthy and tasty appetizer.  J
Mmmmm....bite sized and delicious!
Bon appetito!


A little note on preserved lemon: It is really really easy to make and provides a lemony-salty wonderfulness to so many things. (for example: salads, any vegetable, even cocktails) See my post on Israeli CousCous with Roasted Butternut Squash and Preserved Lemon from 9/24/11 for directions on how to make your own preserved lemons and for other suggestions. Any place you would use salt and lemon flavor is fair game – just expect it to be better! If my house were on fire, I’d grab my jar of preserved lemons on my way out.  They are that great – and so much better homemade.

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