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Hopefully you had a beautiful, long, holiday weekend. My pool is open, I can smell the grill, and the weather is finally warming up :)

I find during the warmer months I am drawn to lighter fare with fresh ingredients, big punches of flavor and acidity.

Enter last nights appetizer that turned into dinner: 

Middle Eastern Sumac Roasted Eggplant with Basil Serrano Salsa Verde

With the addition of an egg this can totally function as a light dinner. The components can also be served chopped up and tossed into mesculin greens using the salsa verde as a salad dressing. If you aren’t into eggs might I suggest you replace the egg with some soft goat cheese and feel free to sub the sunflower seeds with your favorite nut or seed (Marcona almonds, or pistachios would work beautifully). 

Middle Eastern Sumac Roasted Eggplant with Basil Serrano Salse Verde

Serves 2

Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo - Vegetarian - Dairy Free

Ingredients

  • 10 Baby Eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil (for eggplants)
  • 2 teaspoons Sumac
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1 cup Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 4 cups Basil Leaves
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil (for Salsa Verde)
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Serrano Pepper (Diced with seeds removed)
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Zest (About 1 lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 heaped tablespoons Roasted Sunflower Seeds

Instructions

  1. Roasted Eggplant
  2. Step 1
  3. Pre heat the oven to 475F
  4. Split the eggplants in half lengthwise and liberally cover them in olive oil.
  5. In a small bowl combine the Sumac, Smoked Paprika, and two big pinches of fine sea salt.
  6. Liberally sprinkle the eggplant with the spice mixture reserving a small pinch for the eggs.
  7. Place the eggplants on a sheet pan and roast for 25-30 minutes or until charred and softened. (A knife should pierce very easily when pressed against the flesh)

Basil Serrano Salsa Verde

  1. In the work bowl of a food processor add 1/3 cup olive oil, diced and seeded Serrano pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, basil and parsley.
  2. Pulse for about 1 minute until the herbs are broken down.
  3. Add the nutritional yeast and pulse to incorporate.
  4. Taste for seasoning.
  5. If the mixture is too thick stream in more olive oil until the desired consistency is reached.

Medium Boiled Eggs

  1. Place the eggs in a small sauce pan and cover with water to just cover the eggs.
  2. Heat over medium high heat, uncovered, until the water just comes to a boil.
  3. Turn off the heat, leaving the pot in place, and set a timer for 8 minutes.
  4. When the timer goes off wait 30 seconds and then drain and cover the eggs in ice water.
  5. Allow the eggs to rest for 5-10 minutes.
  6. With the back of a spoon gently tap all around the surface of the egg to create as many little cracks as possible.
  7. Roll the egg around in your hands over the sink.
  8. WIth the faucet running gently peel the eggs under the running water.
  9. Split the eggs in half and dust with the remaining sumac, salt, smoked paprika spice mixture.

Assembly

  1. Place 5 eggplant halves in a plate along with two halves of an egg.
  2. Generously spoon the salsa verde over the eggs and eggplant.
  3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of roasted sunflower seeds over each plate.

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