Disclaimer: don’t judge a book by its cover. This appetizer is absolutely delicious, but it doesn’t necessarily look it. My brothers made sure to point that out. But trust me, I wouldn’t share something that’s anything but scrumptious.
This is a pretty time-consuming dish with a decent amount of ingredients, but it’s all worth it in the end. I can guarantee that people will hover over it at any dinner party or event. Initially I was leary about the ingredients, since I’m not eggplant’s biggest fan, but this appetizer definitely erased my skepticism.
Sesame-eggplant salsa recipe:
2 (1- to 1 1/4-lb.) eggplants
1 tbsp. vegetable oil or peanut oil
3/4 cup (packed) plus 1 tbsp. minced green onions
2 1/2 tbsp. minced peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. chili-garlic sauce*
3 tbsp. (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 large plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
3/4 cup (packed) plus 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tsp. oriental sesame oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Pierce eggplants all over with fork. Place on baking sheet. Roast in oven until eggplants are very soft and deflated, turning once, about 1 hour. Cool slightly.
Cut eggplants in half; scrape flesh into strainer set over large bowl (do not allow bottom of strainer to touch bowl). Let eggplant drain 30 minutes. Transfer eggplant to processor. Using on/off turns, process until almost smooth.
Heat vegetable oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3/4 cup green onions, ginger, garlic and chili-garlic sauce; sauté just until onions soften, about 45 seconds. Stir in brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and lemon juice. Bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Mix in eggplant puree and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in tomatoes, 3/4 cup cilantro and sesame oil. Cool to room temperature. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to medium bowl. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
Garnish eggplant salsa with 1 tablespoon each green onions and cilantro. Serve with lavash.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.
* I purchase my Lavash at an Arab market, since they have the biggest selection.
Place each piece of Lavash on a separate cookie sheet and brush with olive oil and garlic. Sprinkle salt, parsley and red pepper flakes on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.