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BLACKENED EGGPLANT WITH FALAFEL CRUMBS

BLACKENED EGGPLANT WITH FALAFEL CRUMBS

Don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients or instructions below, it is all super easy and straightforward, and an amazing plated salad with protein-packed falafel crumbs that would also work as a great topping for loads of different salads.

But you will need to think ahead as the chickpeas need to be soaked overnight.

For backend eggplant:

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • Olive oil for rubbing
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt

For Falafel crumbs:

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

For Tomato Salsa:

  • 2 large tomatoes, seeds cut out, tomatoes cut into small squares
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste

To serve:

  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Salt

For Blackend Eggplant:

The actual cooking can be done in one of three ways. You can either place the eggplant on a rimmed baking sheet and set it under the broiler, wrap it in foil and stick it in the hot coals after a night of grilling or hold it with tongs directly over the grill flames

No matter how you choose to cook the eggplant, prick the eggplants several times with a fork. If blackening them in the oven or in coals, rub eggplant all over with olive oil.

Either way, you want to cook the eggplant until it is totally black on the outside. Not just soft, but burnt. The eggplant will start to deflate as the insides break down.

When the eggplants are cool enough to touch, peel back the skin and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Depending on the eggplant, it might be a bit stringy still, but nothing a little mashing with a fork or in a blender can’t fix.

Mix in the tahini and lemon juice, stir it all together until smooth. Season with salt.
The eggplant can be prepared up to three days ahead of serving, bring it to room temperature before serving.

For the falafel crumbs:

Soak the chickpeas in a lot of water for at least 10 hours.

Preheat the oven to 220°C (450°F)

Finely mince the onion in a large food processor. Add the parsley and coriander to the food processor and pulse a couple of times to chop them up a little.

Strain the chickpeas over the sink. Add the drained, raw chickpeas to the food processor, and process them until the mixture is finely minced. Add the salt, hot pepper, cumin, and minced garlic, baking powder and flour, pulse a few more times.
You’ll still see little minced grains of chickpeas (it’s not supposed to be a smooth purée), but there should not be any large pieces.

Coat the bottom of a sheet pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spoon the falafel mixture evenly over the sheet pan.

Once it’s spread out, very evenly drizzle the falafel mix with about 3 more tablespoons of oil.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until a couple of spots are turning brown and everything’s turning a bit golden).

Use a spatula to flip sections of the falafel, without breaking the whole thing up completely. Just take a spatula-sized section and flip it, and repeat with the remaining sections. Put the tray back in the oven for 10 to 15 more minutes, until there are a lot of brown bits around the edges, and everything is somewhat golden brown.

Once they’re done, break the crumbles up into large chunks with a spatula.

Once cooled keep in an airtight container for one day at room temperature.

To Serve;

Make the simple tomato salsa, by combining the tomatoes, with parsley and green onions, season with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. The salsa can be prepared up to six hours ahead and refrigerated until an hour before ready to serve. Allow it to come to room temperature, before plating up.

Spread the blackened eggplant spread on the bottom of a serving dish, top with the easy tomato salsa and sprinkle with olive oil, coarse salt and black sesame seeds, top with falafel crumbs and serve immediately.