This recipe came about after I was sent a photo from someone I know that was holidaying in Tel Aviv, Israel. They were having a meal at a place called Caffé Tazza D'oro, a branch from the same place that resides in Rome, Italy. I've been to the one in Rome where I vividly remember tucking into a coffee granita to cool off from the intense heat outside.
Back to the eggplant. After taking a look at the online menu for Caffé Tazza D'oro the description didn't give much away that could help me recreate the dish. Grilled eggplant on hot tomatoes, goat cheese & olive sauce. I knew the tomato was spiced but with what, who knows? Time to get creative.
The spiced tomato was a cinch to make. Fry up onion and garlic and add some of my homemade baharat, a Middle Eastern spice mix that I absolutely adore. Get the recipe here. I added a couple of herbs for more depth, some tomato and that was it, pretty much. The goat's cheese sauce was the one I played with the most. In the photo I was sent (as seen below) the sauce had a slight pink tinge, probably from the black olives, but I've also put in some cooked beetroot, labne that I made the day before and a couple of other ingredients to jazz it up a bit. Wow, the sauce would be nice as part of a mezze platter.
grilled eggplant with spiced tomato
Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1½ tbsp baharat
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 x 400 g tins crushed tomatoes
- 1/3 cup vegetable stock
- salt & freshly milled black pepper
- fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Heat the oil over a medium flame and sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook for one minute then add the herbs, baharat and paprika and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and stock, reducing the heat when it begins to boil. Allow the sauce to simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper, to taste. Stir through the chopped coriander.
Turn off the heat and begin to prep the goat's cheese sauce.
goat's cheese sauce
- ½ cup labne or Greek yoghurt
- 115 g goat's cheese
- 30 g pitted black olives (about 10)
- 1 tbsp cooked beetroot, grated
- 2 tsp tahini
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- salt, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until combined and the olives are finely chopped. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- 4 small eggplant
- za'atar, to garnish
Heat a char-grill or barbeque using a medium heat. Place the eggplant on the grill plate and cook, turning every 5 minutes to blacken it all over. It should take 25-30 minutes to cook.
To serve, place some of the hot spiced tomato into a dish, top with the eggplant and tear open the blackened skin to reveal the cooked insides. Drizzle over the goat's cheese sauce and sprinkle with za'atar.