Burnt Eggplant & Tomato Tahini From Ottolenghi Test Kitchen

October  6, 2021
9 Ratings
Photo by Elena Heatherwick
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This dish was born out of some leftover tomato pasta sauce, as well as a few eggplants that really needed using up. Scoop this up with warm pita bread and eat it alongside other meze, or with soft-boiled eggs for a hearty breakfast. —Food52

Test Kitchen Notes

Recipe excerpted with permission from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi, published by Clarkson Potter © 2021. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Burnt Eggplant & Tomato Tahini From Ottolenghi Test Kitchen
  • 4 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds/1 kilogram)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, roughly crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, roughly crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/4 cup (5 grams) dill, roughly chopped, plus 1 tablespoon extra leaves, to serve
  • Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (1¼ cups/180 grams)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 (14-ounce/400-gram) can of whole, peeled tomatoes, roughly crushed by hand
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  1. Place a well-greased grill pan on high heat. Prick the eggplants all over with a fork, about 8 to 10 times and, once smoking, cook them, turning as necessary until well charred all over and softened through the middle, about 45 minutes. Set aside to cool completely and, once cool enough to handle, peel and discard the stems and skins (don’t worry if there’s some skin attached) and roughly pull apart the flesh into strands. Set aside.
  2. Make the tomato sauce. Put the oil into a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for a minute more, then add the tomatoes, sugar, 7 tablespoons/100 milliliters of water, ½ teaspoon of salt, and a generous grind of pepper. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium and cook for 18 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick and rich.
  3. Make the topping. Heat the oil in a small frying pan on medium/high heat, then add the sliced garlic and the pine nuts and cook for 60 to 90 seconds, or until lightly golden. Add the spices and a tiny pinch of salt and immediately remove from the heat. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the tahini with 2½ tablespoons of water and a tiny pinch of salt until smooth and pourable.
  5. To the tomato sauce, add the burnt eggplant, 3 tablespoons of water, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and a good grind of pepper and cook on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped dill. Drizzle all over with the tahini, then spoon on the fried garlic and pine nut mixture and top with the dill leaves. Serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Casey
  • Lauren Miller
    Lauren Miller
  • Hmoshman
  • Hollis Ramsey
    Hollis Ramsey

7 Reviews

Casey April 7, 2022
This dish was filled with such good flavor! It did take me a lot longer to grill the eggplant, I would say about 3 hours, but they were pretty big and I have a little indoor panini press/grill. Other than the eggplant everything else came together pretty quickly. The addition of dill, what a great complement of flavor to the tomato sauce. I dont think I've ever had those two flavors together and I was impressed! I was also surprised how filling this dish was. I served it with some lettuce leaves and naan and it was plenty filling. I also had some extra toum (garlic sauce) from another night and served it with this dish and it was a great additional flavor!
AlanBruno November 2, 2021
You lost me at sugar in the tomato sauce. What kind of Italian are you?
Comfortfoodie January 24, 2022
I doubt this is an Italian recipe considering it has tahini and cumin and coriander.
Hollis R. February 7, 2023
Does all tomato sauce have to be Italian? This one isn’t.
Lauren M. November 2, 2021
Really wonderful starter to a meal or as a vegetarian main. The flavors were so complimentary and the eggplant delicious - though my smoke detectors went off twice! Served with lettuce leaves, dressed up labneh, and warm pita
Hmoshman October 28, 2021
This was good, but not amazing. I didn't actually think the whole cumin and coriander seed was the best choice of spices here. This made more than 3 appetizer plates. Served with grain-free chips.
Kestrel October 10, 2021
Absolutely fabulous dish! Thanks for a wonderful recipe.