Buttery Eggplants with Toasted Couscous

updated May 29, 2019
Buttery Eggplants with Toasted Couscous
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Credit: Matt Russell/Kitchn; Food & Prop Stylist: Emily Ezekiel/Kitchn

This recipe is a part of Anna Jones’ summer grilling menu. You can find all the recipes in the package here.

This is a perfect recipe for a crowd and works brilliantly on the barbecue rather than the broiler if you like. One thing to ensure here is that your eggplants are buttery and soft; raw eggplant has to be one of the worst things to eat. Eggplant is a pretty resilient vegetable, so be brave when you cook it, and give it long enough to make sure it’s cooked through. Try to get your hands on the longer, thin eggplants, as short fat ones will take much longer to cook through.

Anna Jones, Author of The Modern Cook’s Year

Credit: Matt Russell/Kitchn; Food & Prop Stylist: Emily Ezekiel/Kitchn

Buttery Eggplants with Toasted Couscous

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the peppers:

  • 4

    red peppers, deseeded and cut into thin strips

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 4 cloves

    of garlic, finely sliced

  • 1

    red onion, finely sliced

  • 2 tablespoons

    sherry vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    smoked sweet paprika

For the eggplant:

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cilantro

  • Sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 4

    long, thin eggplants

  • Plain yogurt, to serve (optional)

For the couscous:

  • 1 1/2 cups

    (300 g) whole-wheat giant couscous (mograbieh)

  • 1 heaping teaspoon

    vegetable stock powder

  • Small bunches of mint, parsley, basil, leaves picked and roughly chopped, stems reserved

  • The zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon

  • 6 tablespoons

    extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve

  • 1 teaspoon

    sumac

Instructions

  1. First, the peppers. Put the peppers in a frying pan with the olive oil, garlic, and red onion and cook for 20 minutes over low to medium heat, until softened and sweeter and the edges are beginning to pick up some golden color. Add the vinegar and paprika and cook for another 20 minutes, then season well and take off the heat.

  2. While the peppers are cooking, heat your broiler or barbecue to medium. Mix the cumin and cilantro with the oil and a good pinch of salt. Prick the eggplants all over and rub them with the oil. Put them under the broiler or on the barbecue for about 25 minutes, turning them a couple of times. You are aiming for the eggplants to almost completely collapse, so be brave.

  3. Fill the kettle with water and bring to a boil. Toast the couscous in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes, until it smells toasty but before it colors. Cover with 4 1/2 cups (1 liter) of boiling water and add the stock powder and herb stems. Turn the heat down to medium and let the couscous simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.

  4. Put the lemon zest and juice in a small bowl with the olive oil. Add the chopped herb leaves and sumac and mix well. Once the couscous is cooked, drain well, remove the herb stems, and dress with half the dressing while still warm.

  5. Place an eggplant on each plate, cut lengthways with a sharp knife, and season the insides well with olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve with a heaping spoonful of the couscous and peppers on the side. Finish with the remaining dressing and some yogurt, if you like.

Recipe Notes

Reprinted with permission from The Modern Cook’s Year by Anna Jones, published by Abrams Books 2019.

Credit: Courtesy of Abrams Books

Find the Book:The Modern Cook’s Year by Anna Jones