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Spice-Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt and Harissa

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 8 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 c eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp. ras el hanout
  • 1/2 c Wondra flour
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/8 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 c Mad Spicy Harissa

Mad Spicy Harissa:

  • 8 red Fresno chiles
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 (1/2-inch) onion slices
  • 1/2 c olive oil, divided
  • 12 to 24 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp. sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, the garlic, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir and refrigerate.
  3. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray.
  4. Combine the Wondra flour and the ras el hanout in a large zip-top bag.
  5. Toss the eggplant with the flour mixture to evenly coat the eggplant. Shake out any excess through a colander into a large mixing bowl.
  6. Toss the floured eggplant with the olive oil and place in an even layer on the roasting pan.
  7. Roast at 400 degrees until evenly browned and tender, 25 minutes. Turn once with a thin metal spatula during cooking.
  8. Sprinkle the eggplant with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Scatter the mint on top and transfer the finished eggplant to a bowl.
  9. Serve on individual plates, with yogurt sauce and harissa.

To make the Mad Spicy Harissa:

  1. Set up a kitchen blender. Grab a small sauté pan. Ready a grill pan or grill. The final product will be even more incredible if you cook outdoors and use good quality charcoal. Preheat to medium.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the chiles, the red bell pepper, and the onion slices in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Coat evenly.
  3. Grill the chiles, the bell pepper, and the onions over medium heat. We're not fully charring here, as you would for roasted peppers, but evenly, deliberately wilting. The pepper and the onions should have desirable char, of course, but should look "ready to eat" when they're cooked tender. Cook the Fresno chiles and onions 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Grill the bell pepper 15 minutes, turning occasionally.
  4. Set the grilled items aside to cool on a platter.
  5. Now, fire up the sauté pan to just past medium-low. The pan should be too hot to touch, but not raging. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Swirl. Add the garlic cloves. Toss.
  6. Gently cook the garlic cloves, stirring from time to time, until they are tender to the tooth, about 15 minutes. If you are a garlic aficionado, use the full 24 cloves in the recipe, as you\'ll find yourself snacking. When the garlic is tender, set aside in a small bowl.
  7. Now, in the same pan used to cook the garlic, add the cumin and the coriander. Toast over medium heat until the aroma of the spices fills the room, about 2 minutes. Your chiles and bell pepper should be sufficiently cooled by now. Using a paring knife, remove their tops. Seed the bell pepper, but not the chiles.
  8. Throw the chiles and pepper into the blender. Don't turn it on yet. The garlic, too. Now add the spice mixture, salt, mint, sambal oelek, and lemon juice to the blender. Cover the blender, and progressively increase the speed to high. If the ingredients don't liquefy fully, add a splash or two of water to help the process along.
  9. When the ingredients are fully liquefied, and with the blade speed of the blender reduced to moderate, remove the lid of the blender, and slowly drizzle in 5 tablespoons of olive oil. The sauce will emulsify, becoming almost creamy, but not quite.
  10. Store in an airtight container, refrigerated. This version is pretty perishable, so use it within a week.