"Achieving the dark colour on the eggplant is key to this simple dish, as it gives almost a burnt-caramel effect. It's the way Mum used to fry eggplant. I've paired it with a medieval salš - an Arabian salsa based on a 13th-century recipe from Baghdad." Joseph Abboud, Rumi
- vegetable oil, For shallow-frying
- 700 gm eggplant (about 2 eggplant), peeled and sliced 1cm thick
- plain flour, seasoned, For dusting
- 1½ tsp fenugreek
- 1½ tsp sweet paprika
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp Aleppo pepper (see note)
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- of garlic powder, Pinch
- 125 ml extra-virgin olive oil (½ cup)
- ½ cup each mint, coriander and flat-leaf parsley (firmly packed)
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tsp honey
- ¾ tsp caraway seeds, finely ground
- 125 ml lime juice (½ cup)
- 1For bastourma spice mix, process all ingredients with ¼ tsp sea salt and ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper in a spice grinder or pound in a mortar and pestle until finely ground, then set aside.
- 2For salŝ, process oil, herbs, garlic, honey and caraway in a blender until very fine and smooth (1-2 minutes), then add lime juice, process until bright green and smooth (1 minute) and season to taste.
- 3Heat oil in a large deep-sided frying pan to 180C. Dust eggplant lightly in seasoned flour, then fry in batches until golden and tender (3-4 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit), drain on absorbent paper and season with bastourma spice mix. Arrange on a platter, drizzle with salŝ and serve warm.
Note Aleppo pepper, named for the Syrian city, is grown in Syria and Turkey, then dried and crushed. It's available from select Middle Eastern grocers. If it's unavailable, substitute dried chilli flakes. This recipe is from the February 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
Drink Suggestion: 2011 Yering Station Village Fumé Blanc.