There is nothing better than grilled eggplant. I recommend globe eggplants for this dish, but if you choose Japanese eggplants, you will need to increase their number and adjust for a shorter cooking time to complete this recipe. This Grilled Zaatar Spiced Eggplant is perfect as an appetizer or part of the main course. Serve with pita or rice for a meatless meal, or serve alongside chicken or lamb kebabs for the meat lovers in the crowd.
- 2 medium eggplants cut in half lengthwise
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- kosher or coarse sea salt
- 1 cup whole milk yogurt (opt for creamy over tart)
- 6-8 fresh mint leaves chopped
- Toasted sesame seeds
For zaatar spice:
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper flakes
- Place each eggplant half onto a large baking sheet, skin side up. Sprinkle the exposed flesh with salt and let stand for 30-35 minutes. This process will extract the bitter juices.
- I recommend a charcoal grill for this dish, but it’s okay to use a gas or pellet unit, and of course your oven works too. The recommended cooking temperature is around 375 degrees F.
- Blot flesh portions dry with clean paper towels. Combine thyme, oregano, cumin, coriander, black pepper, and pepper flakes together in a small bowl. Brush eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle seasoning onto the flesh portion.
- Place onto grill seasoned side down, and cook for 5 minutes. Gently turn and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes or until eggplant flesh is tender (scoopable, but not completely gooey), and skins have a bit of char to them.
- Remove from heat and place onto a large clean platter. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Finish the dish off with toasted sesame seeds, a heaping spoonful or two of yogurt on each half, and chopped mint. Serve immediately.