15 March, 2012

eggplant salad with minted yogurt dressing

This salad would have been perfect had I grilled the eggplant long enough. And even without the distinctive grilled haloumi (I used feta pieces) or the finishing touch of sumac (read on...) the salad was a refreshing combination of flavours.  We both ate it, but (me) not overly enthusiastically.  Now you have a go at it...

I had all the ingredients on hand except the fresh herbs and eggplant. And haloumi.  Oh, and the apparently magic ingredient - sumac.  But hey Donna Hay, sometimes a gal just needs to cook with what she's got... and I like the challenge of improvising, even when I get it sort of wrong.

The recipe called for a sprinkling of sumac at the end (which we know I did not use).  I suspect it would have elevated the dish substantially.  Point taken Donna.  (sumac is a popular, tangy condiment in middle/near eastern and mediterranean cooking that I'm hoping to pick up as soon as I find it!)

eggplant salad with minted yogurt dressing
(adapted from No Time to Cook by Donna Hay)

2 small-medium eggplants, sliced
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
sea salt and cracked black pepper
150-200 grams of feta, cubed (or use same amount of haloumi, sliced and then grilled)
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
8-10 cherry or grape tomatoes (leave whole or slice in half)
1.4 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
minted yogurt dressing 
1/3 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
3/4 cup thick natural (unsweetened) yogurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Combine mint, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a bowl.
Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with oil / spice combination and place on a baking tray.  Cook the eggplant, flipping them frequently until they are soft and nicely browned.  (If you are using haloumi, grill the slices for about one minute each side and set aside).

Toss together the chickpeas, tomatoes and parsley in a small bowl.  Divide the dressing between two serving plates.  Top with layers of eggplant, cheese and chickpea salad and serve.