A jar of harissa sits in my fridge, leftover from this roasted cauliflower.
Every time I open the fridge it stares back at me, potential waiting to happen. Smothered on chicken? Stirred into baba ganoush? Smeared on eggplants, and roasted to a crisp?
You mull over these ideas enough and you just have to make moves. Next thing you know, I’m buying eggplants and dicing tomatoes. I’m straining yogurt into lebneh, and toasting pine nuts.
Having a jar of an unfamiliar ingredient in the fridge is a muse— it keeps the imagination wandering. I know harissa has been “trending” for a while now, and I’m a bit late to the show, but in my own pace I’m discovering it’s marvels…
Serves: 2 | Total Time:
- 2 baby small to medium eggplants
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup harissa paste, depending on preference
- 1/4 cup lebneh (or make your own: 1/2 cup greek yogurt + cheesecloth)
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 1/2 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cucumber
- 2 dried figs, diced
- Salt & Pepper
- If you are making your own lebneh: scoop yogurt into cheese cloth and place over bowl. Allow to sit for 30 minutes (or while you prepare the rest of the dish), until whey liquid has seeped out and yogurt is thick and creamy. If you are using store bought, skip to step 2.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Half eggplant, and then use a knife to score flesh in a grid pattern. In a small bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil and harissa (we use 1/4 cup because we like our food hot, hot, hot. Use less if you like your food just mellowly spiced). Brush mixture over eggplants, getting the sauce into the crevasses you created when scoring. Place on baking sheet, and then in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, until the eggplants puff, their skin in brown and wrinkled, and they are softened through. Set aside to cool, and then place on serving dishes.
- Scoop a dollop of lebneh over each half of the eggplant.
- Halve the cherry tomatoes, and dice the cucumber. Sprinkle over top of the eggplant. Lastly, sprinkle figs and pine nuts and season with salt & pepper. Serve hot.