When Shuki and I score a catering gig we spend a few weeks planning a menu, a few days prepping then we serve up a Middle Eastern feast buffet style. It's hard work but actually pretty fun because it makes a difference from cooking huge pots of chickpeas and smoking kilos of eggplants, as we do for the dips.
Planning the menu is pretty grouse. Our latest job is for a repeat client, so we have to keep mixing it up to keep it interesting for them. Shuki usually comes up with something I've never tried like Iraqi style fish cakes in pita or chickpea and haloumi sambusac. I usually come up with a few salads or sides.
For one we have coming up in a few weeks, I've been testing an eggplant "taratoor" style dish. A halved eggplant roasted, spread with yoghurt, tahini, walnut, pomegranate molasses and a bit of mint. It's something I've done with baked salmon fillets many times and loved, so I thought I'd give it a go with eggplants. It works really well. As long as you bake the eggplant til it's soft enough to scoop easily out of the skin, you can't go wrong.
EGGPLANT "TARATOOR" // MAKES 4 SIDE SERVES
Adjust the quantities of the sauce ingredients to your tastes!
2 large eggplants
1/2 cup of yoghurt
1-2 tbs tahini
Salt and pepper
2 tbs olive oil, more for basting
Juice of one lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed, optional
Drizzle of pomegranate
Chopped mint leaves
Handful of roasted walnuts, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 200C. Slice the eggplants in half length ways and score the flesh. Season and rub with olive oil. Roast for 20 mins, then baste with more oil and roast for another 20 mins. When it's soft and creamy, remove and set aside to cool a little. Mix up the sauce, then spread on the cooled eggplants, finish with mint, pomegranate molasses and walnuts.