No, it’s not pate like you’ll find in Paris. But it surely has the vibrant quality of a signature dish. This Eggplant Pate, from Olives, Lemons, and Za’atar by Rawia Bishara, seeks to inundate you with layers of texture and flavor. This can be an appetizer with wine before your meal, the salad, a side dish. Or you load up the plate and enjoy this as the main course.
Raiwa suggests this dish, served in falafel, as wonderful vegetarian sandwich. You can introduce variety in texture, flavor, color and size by simply changing the type of eggplant you employ.
While the recipe suggests hot or jalapeno peppers, you are free to substitute what you prefer, perhaps fiery hot or perhaps just a comfortable bell pepper.
Yield: 8 servings
- 3 medium eggplants [2 ½ to 3 pounds total], cut into ½-inch rounds
- Sea salt for sprinkling
- Corn oil for frying
- ⅓ to ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil for tomato topping plus more for roasting
- 4 long hot or jalapeno peppers
- 8 plum tomatoes or 3 beefsteak tomatoes, peeled and dice
- 6 garlic cloves, mince
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Feta cheese for garnish, optional but pictured
Arrange the eggplant slices on a sheet pan, sprinkle with salt and set aside for 30 minutes or until the eggplants begin to sweat. Pat dry.
Add ¼ inch corn oil to large skillet and heat over high until hot. Working in batches, use a spatula to slide the eggplant slices into the skillet and fry, turning once, until they are medium brown on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, adding more corn oil to the skillet if necessary.
Alternatively, brush the eggplant slices with olive oil on both sides and roast in a 500°F oven until golden, turning once, about 15 minutes.
Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, finely dice 2 chile peppers, removing the seeds if desired. Finely slice the other 2 chile peppers. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, chopped chiles, garlic, ⅓ cup of the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, stirring to incorporate. Gradually add as much of the remaining olive oil to achieve you desired consistency. Spoon enough of the tomato mixture onto each eggplant slice to leave a narrow border around the rim. Garnish with the sliced chiles and serve.
Source: Olives, Lemons, & Za’atar by Rawia Bishara
Photo Information [top picture]: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/50th second at ISO-1250