Smoked Eggplant Borek
Source: Joyce Goldstein, chef and author
This recipe was served at CUESA’s 11th Annual Sunday Supper on October 20, 2013.
Serves 12 to 18 (one shallow hotel pan or large lasagna pan)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1½ cups chopped green onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
1 tablespoon za’atar
1½ teaspoons sumac
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1½ pounds crumbled feta
¼ cup minced fresh dill
2 teaspoons black pepper
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1½ packages filo for hotel pan (a little less for lasagna pan)
1½ pounds butter, melted
Arugula, salad greens, and mint leaves dressed in olive oil and a bit of lemon juice, for serving
1. Cook the eggplants on stove top griddle until soft, turning occasionally until uniformly soft on all sides. Drain in a colander for 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Peel the eggplants. Pulse in food processor. Drain again in colander to rid it of water. It should yield about 14 cups smoked eggplant pureé. Transfer the drained eggplant to large mixing bowl.
3. Warm the olive oil and the sauté the green onions over medium heat until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the cumin, Aleppo pepper, za’atar, and sumac.
4. Next, add the green onion mixture to the eggplant. Add the walnuts, feta , dill, black pepper, and lots of salt to taste. Stir in the lightly beaten eggs. Season to taste and chill overnight.
5. In the morning, look at the eggplant. If there are pockets of liquid, add a few tablespoons of dry breadcrumbs as needed. The mixture should be loose but not wet.
6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Layer about half the filo in a hotel pan or lasagna pan, brushing with melted butter as you go. Sprinkle lightly and evenly with bread crumbs. Add a layer of filling. Top with the remaining filo, buttering as you go. Chill until thhe butter is set and then pre-cut into equal portions for serving.
7. Bake until golden, about 45 to 60 minutes. Serve with arugula, greens, and mint leaves dressed in olive oil and a bit of lemon juice.
Photo by Tory Putnam.