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“Top Chef Canada” judge Eden Grinshpans first cookbook “Eating Out Loud” reflects her bright and bold Israeli heritage. The chef has poured more than 100 recipes into her cookbook—many that are familiar Middle Eastern recipes, while others offer Eden’s riff on classics, ones that are still buoyed by Mediterranean staples.

Related Reading: The Best Time to Harvest Eggplants & Everything Else You Need to Know About Growing Your Own

Eating Out Loud: Bold Middle Eastern Flavors for All Day, Every Day: A Cookbook, $29.25 on Amazon

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Here, you’ll find a book jammed with colorful images, personable anecdotes, and a spirited ambience that transcends the pages straight into your kitchen. With Eden’s help, you’ll learn how to make sticky sesame challah monkey bread; chicken shawarma liberally stuffed in warm pita bread; and whole-roasted broccoli drizzled with herbed yogurt, dukkah, and chili. Along with pairing unexpected ingredients together, Eden also eschews stuffy traditions, advocating instead to eat with your hands and double-dip to your heart’s content.

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You’ll want to keep all of that in mind when you test out Eden’s recipe for charred whole eggplant. Here, you’ll slice open a few eggplants, charring the whole vegetable on a grill, under the broiler, or over a gas burner. The eggplant will deflate and turn black all over; once it’s cool enough to handle, remove the blackened skin and prepare the remaining flesh to be topped with pureed, crushed tomatoes and a drizzling of garlicky tahini, za’atar oil, and red zhug (a Yemeni hot sauce). Finish it off with a garnish of fresh basil and mint and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt. The dish can be served as is, but Eden also recommends mopping up all that tahini and tomato with wedges of sourdough bread, challah, or pita.

Reprinted from Eating Out Loud. Copyright © 2020 by Eden Grinshpan with Rachel Holtzman. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Aubrie Pick. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.  

Charred Whole Eggplant with Crushed Tomatoes, Basil, and Mint Recipe

Charred Whole Eggplant with Crushed Tomatoes, Basil, and Mint

Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 medium eggplants
  • 1 medium tomato
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon za’atar, storebought or homemade
  • 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • ½ cup Garlicky Tahini
  • 1 tablespoon Red Zhug (optional;recipe follows)
  • ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ⅓ cup fresh mint leaves
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Thick slices of sourdough, challah, or pita, for serving
Instructions
  1. With the tip of your knife, pierce each eggplant in two places—it doesn’t need to be perfect or in the same place every time; this is just so the eggplant doesn’t explode on you.
  2. Pick a cooking method for the eggplant: grill, broiler, or stovetop burners. The bottom line is that you want this eggplant to be almost unrecognizably charred. It’s going to deflate and the skin will get white in some places, but that just means the fire is working its magic on that eggplant.
  3. OPTION 1: Grill Preheat the grill until hot. Add the eggplants and let the fire do its thing, making sure to keep turning the eggplants so they char all over. You want them to get black and maybe even white in some places, 20 to 30 minutes total.
  4. OPTION 2: Broil Preheat the broiler. Put the eggplants in a broiler proof roasting pan and place the pan as close to the heating element as possible. (You may have to adjust your oven rack to accommodate the depth of the pan and eggplants.) Broil until they are evenly charred all over, 35 to 40 minutes, checking and turning the eggplants periodically. You want the eggplants to keep their shape but get really charred and wilted.
  5. OPTION 3: Stovetop Gas Burners. Line your stovetop around your burners with foil. Working with one at a time, place the eggplant over a medium flame and let it char, making sure to turn it every 5 minutes. Continue cooking until it is deflated and black all over, about 15 minutes.
  6. Transfer the cooked eggplants to a colander in the sink and let the juices run. (The juices can make the dish taste bitter.) Once they’re cool enough to handle, and being careful to maintain the original shape, remove all of the eggplant skin except for the stem. Set aside on a large platter.
  7. In a blender or food processor, blend together the tomato with the kosher salt. Set aside.
  8. In a small bowl, mix together the za’atar and olive oil. Set aside.
  9. Gently press on the eggplant flesh with a fork to spread it out. Drizzle the eggplants with the garlicky tahini and spoon over the pureed tomato. Drizzle with the za’atar oil and some red zhug (if using). Garnish with the basil and mint and finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Serve warm with fresh bread.

Red Zhug Recipe

Red Zhug

Makes: ¾ cup
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted in a dry pan until fragrant
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan until fragrant
  • ⅓ cup grapeseed oil
  • 3 fresh hot red chile peppers, such as cayenne
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled but left whole
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. In a spice grinder, grind the toasted seeds until the mixture forms a powder. Transfer the mixture to a blender. Add the oil, chiles, garlic, turmeric, and salt and blend until it comes together. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Garlicky Tahini Recipe

Note: This is how much I need for the brand of tahini that I use, but it may be different for you. Start with some of the water and add until you’ve gotten a smooth, creamy consistency. If you add too much water, add a little more tahini to thicken the sauce back up again.

Garlicky Tahini

Makes: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup tahini paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice plus more to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ cup ice water, plus more if needed (see Note)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and ice water. It will reach a weird, lumpy consistency, but don’t be afraid. Keep whisking until it smooths out and becomes light in color (if it doesn’t, it needs more ice water, so just add a bit more). Tahini sauce with the perfect consistency will drip through the tines of a fork, but just barely. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice or salt if desired. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to 1 week. If the tahini gets too thick while in the fridge, just loosen it up with a little water before using.

Header image by Aubrie Pick.

Amy Schulman is an associate editor at Chowhound. She is decidedly pro-chocolate.
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