Roasted Eggplant Topped with Lamb and Tahini-Lemon Sauce
for the eggplant:
- 2 eggplants
- olive oil
- granulated garlic
- freshly ground black pepper
for the lamb:
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 red onion, sliced into quarter-moons
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 15 oz canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sumac
- 1 tablespoon za’atar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- freshly ground black pepper
for the tahini sauce:
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- juice and zest of one lemon
- Preheat the oven to 375. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Use the end of a knife to deeply score the eggplants in a 1/2 inch cube pattern without slicing through the skin. Brush with oil, sprinkle with granulated garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake until easily pierced with a thin knife, about 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet saute the onion and garlic until fragrant. Add the lamb and saute until very nearly cooked through about 10 minutes. Drain off any access fat if desired. Add the tomatoes and spices, saute, stirring occasionally until the lamb is cooked through and the liquid from the tomatoes evaporates and mixture thickens.
- Remove the eggplants from the oven. Place, cut side up, on plates or a serving platter and top with lamb mixture, pressing it into the eggplant with the back of your spoon.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients and immediately divide among the eggplants. Sprinkle with additional za'atar if desired.
This past week the Aldi ad featured ground bison but when I got there, there was no bison to be found. However, I found plenty of lamb. I’m not going to question it. Lamb can be surprisingly tricky to find (although it has become easier over the last five years or so) so when I see it, I pick it up. They also had some gorgeous eggplants so there you go!
I’m still trying to shop less frequently (although there have been some forays into Costco and a trip to Trader Joe’s of late) due to the pandemic. Even more than before when I’m coming up with recipe ideas I’m really looking for how can I combine what I found today (eggplant and lamb) with what I already have at home (spices, canned good, tahini). I try really hard to avoid food waste and I hate to grocery shop so I rarely run out for one ingredient anyway but it’s even more important now when I’m trying to do only one big shop for fresh items every three weeks or so.
This dish is deeply savory, very filling, and super flavorful. I love this technique for eggplant, it really gets silky smooth and doesn’t absorb as much oil as pan frying does. It’s also a little easier than making “boats” or scooping out the insides–the eggplant gets so soft you can just press the meat into the eggplant–and much less waste. I love eggplant so I want every bite out of each one. The tahini sauce is gilding the lily a bit–feel free to skip it–but I love sesame with lamb and I have a 2 lb jar of tahini to use up so I went for it. It really just felt like a fancy meal but I made it in about 30 minutes.