Ras El Hanout Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Sauce & Barberries

Ras El Hanout Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Sauce & Barberries

Serves 4-6. 

For this vegetarian side, eggplant is simply roasted with a Ras el Hanout spiced marinade and served with a garlicky tahini-yogurt sauce and jewel-like, glazed barberries. This marinade also works great for grilling! 

For the marinade:
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon Ras el Hanout
1 teaspoon grated or minced garlic (from one large clove)
½ teaspoon sea salt

For the sauce:
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¾ teaspoon grated or minced garlic (from one large clove)
½ teaspoon sea salt

For the eggplant
2 medium (about ¾ pound each) eggplants
2 teaspoons neutral oil
1 batch marinade (above)
2 tablespoons barberries
1 tablespoon salted butter
10-12 mint leaves
Flaky sea salt, optional
Maras chile flakes, optional 

Preheat the oven to 400° F. 

Make the marinade  Put the marinade ingredients into a deep bowl or a jar and whisk to combine. 

Make the sauce  Put the sauce ingredients into a small mixing bowl and add 3 tablespoons of water. Whisk until the sauce is smoothly combined and about the thickness of stirred sour cream. Taste and add more lemon or salt if needed; add water 1 tablespoon at a time if the sauce is too thick.

Prep and bake the eggplant  Brush a rimmed sheet pan with the oil. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise (no need to remove the stem or calix). Use a sharp knife to score a crosshatch pattern about ½-inch deep into the cut side of each eggplant half.

Generously brush the cut sides of the eggplant with the marinade, working it into the crosshatches — use most of the marinade, saving about a third of it for later. Set the eggplant on the sheet pan skin side down and transfer it to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. 

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and brush the eggplant with all of the remaining marinade. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the eggplant is tender but not collapsing, about 15 minutes more. The eggplant should be lightly browned, but you can broil it for an additional couple of minutes to brown it further.

While the eggplant bakes, glaze and plump the barberries: Rinse the berries with cold water and drain briefly before transferring them to a small pan. Add the butter and ¼ cup of water and set the pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the water has evaporated, and the berries are plump and glossy.

Garnish and serve  Spread the sauce in a swirl on a serving dish. Set the eggplant on the sauce and sprinkle barberries over top. Tear the mint leaves and drop them over the eggplant. Sprinkle on a pinch each of flaky salt and chile flakes, if using. Serve hot or at room temperature.


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