Roasted Eggplant with Rhubarb Couscous

This is one of the winning recipes from our recent Spice Challenge. Created by reader Sylvia Lavietes and tied together with her original spice blend. Her other recipe using the same spice blend is here.

serves 4 as an appetizer

Recipe by Sylvia Lavietes

Ingredients

The spice blend:
1 Tbsp pimentón
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric

Finely grind the cumin and coriander and mix with the other ingredients.

The eggplant:
2 eggplants
One lemon-juiced
1/2 cup tehina
Warm water
Optional: za’atar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp of the spice blend above
Salt plus flaky salt and yogurt, chopped parsley and/or scallions for finishing.

The rhubarb couscous:
4 stalks rhubarb cut in small pieces.
1/4 cup sugar
1 heaping teaspoon of the spice blend above
juice on 1/2 lemon
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
pepper
1 cup quick couscous

Instructions

Pour tehina in a bowl with the juice of the lemon.
It will ‘seize’. Add about a quarter cup of warm water and continue whisking. continue water until the sauce flows. Season with salt, and if you wish, some za’atar.

Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Cut lines about a half inch deep in a cross-hatch pattern.

Mix the olive oil, spice mix, and salt.

Brush the spiced oil onto the 4 cut sides of the eggplants. Bake them, cut side up, at 375 degrees, for about 40 minutes, or until tender. You can also cook them over indirect heat on the grill.

While they bake make the couscous:
Simmer the rhubarb in water to cover along with sugar and the spice blend.

Add jthe lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt, and a few grinds of pepper.

Add 2 cup of water. Bring to a boil the add the couscous.

Cover and turn off heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Remove the eggplants from the oven and comb their tops with a fork to incorporate the oil.

Top with the rhubarb couscous, tehina sauce, and if you like garnishes like yogurt and fresh herbs.