Lentils with Broiled Eggplant
I have a new cookbook crush. In fact it may even be an infatuation. It started innocently enough, with a link from Heidi to a video interview with Yottam Ottolenghi. Now I had heard the name Ottolenghi mentioned before in vegetarian circles- always with proclamations of incredible food and concepts. Yet watching the video brought the passion and love embodied in Ottolenghi’s food to life. An Israeli born restauranteur who runs several eponymous restaurants in London with a Palestinian head chef, I immediately jumped over to Amazon and bought his new vegetarian cookbook, Plenty.
Once the book arrived I read it cover to cover giving the top of the book a colorful plumage of flagged pages. Containing a beautifully eclectic mix of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and yes even Japanese flavors- everything sounded good. With the change of seasons I must admit I was in a bit of a cooking funk. Traditionally this is the time of year I break out braised dishes and slow cooked comfort food. My now vegan and gluten free diet took my standby fall recipes off the menu and left me staring in the fridge wondering what to do. Ottolenghi saved the day and firmly pulled me out of the funk with dishes like roasted parsnips and sweet potatoes with a caper dip, soba noodles with eggplant and mango, and this beautiful dish of lentils with broiled eggplant.
The recipe begins with two innocent looking eggplant. You place them on a foil lined baking sheet, poke a few holes in them with a fork, and then broil them to smithereens. Once the outside of the eggplant is completely charred black, you let them cool slightly and then cut a long slit down the length of each eggplant.
The blackened skin pulls back to reveal a soft, slippery, and oh so tasty interior. The eggplant flesh has a delicate smoky flavor that reminds me of the best baba ghanoush. While the eggplants are broiling you prepare a basic lentil recipe and ready several tomatoes, carrots, and celery for their turn in the oven. In the end roasted vegetables are folded into savory lentils and sprinkled with fresh herbs. The silky eggplant is piled on top and the entire dish holds a warm earthy flavor that tastes exactly like fall. Inspired, infatuated- it doesn’t really matter. Thanks to Ottolenghi the kitchen is warm and we are well fed!
Lentils with Broiled Eggplant Print Recipe
Minimally Adapted from Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi
Calories per serving: 296
Fat per serving: 10.7 Grams
- 2 Medium Eggplants
- 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar (use a high quality vinegar)
- Salt and Black Pepper
- 1 cup Small Green Lentils (use a variety that will hold their shape like Puy)
- 3 small Carrots, peeled
- 2 stalks Celery, strings removed
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 3 Thyme Sprigs
- 1/2 Medium White Onion
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 12 Cherry tomatoes, halved (or 4 medium tomatoes quartered)
- 1/3 teaspoon Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Parsley, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Dill, chopped