Cook this: Fried eggplant with walnut tarator from Souk

‘Dusting the eggplant in cornstarch before frying gives it an amazing crisp texture,‘ Nadia Zerouali and Merijn Tol write

Fried eggplant with walnut tarator from Souk by Nadia Zerouali and Merijn Tol.Ernie Enkler

August 21, 2018
9:34 AM EDT

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Our cookbook of the week is by Netherlands-based cooks Nadia Zerouali and Merijn Tol. Over the next four days, we’ll feature recipes from the book and an interview with its author.

To try another recipe from the book, check out: and .

“Dusting the eggplant in cornstarch before frying gives it an amazing crisp texture,” Nadia Zerouali and Merijn Tol write of this warm mezze. Served with walnut tarator, the earthiness of the sauce complements the creaminess of the fried eggplant.

Depending on where you are in the Mediterranean, tarator can take different forms. In Bulgaria, it’s a chilled soup, in Cyprus, a yogurt-based dip and in Lebanon, a tahini-enriched sauce. According to Zerouali and Tol, this walnut version is what you’re like to find in Turkey and Eastern Europe.

“It’s really one of those uncomplicated dishes that you think, ‘Wow,’” says Tol. “This is just very humble ingredients and you end up with something wonderful.”

FRIED EGGPLANT

with walnut tarator
Serves: 2-4 people

Souk – a collection of more than 100 recipes celebrating the bounty of mezze culture — is Nadia Zerouali and Merijn Tol’s second cookbook to be translated into English.

2 eggplants
Cornstarch
Oil, for frying
Salt
1 1/2 cups (200 g) walnuts
1 garlic clove
1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60 mL) milk
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Flatbreads, to serve

Step 1

Cut the eggplants into pieces and dredge them in the cornstarch, shaking off any excess. Heat the oil to 350°F (180°C), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 30 seconds. Fry the eggplant until golden brown, then let the pieces drain on paper towel and sprinkle with some salt.

Step 2

Roast the walnuts in a dry frying pan and allow to cool. Using an immersion blender, purée the walnuts with the garlic, half the parsley and the milk. Season to taste with lemon juice and salt, and finish off with a generous slug of olive oil.

Step 3

Place the eggplant in a bowl, spoon the tarator over the top and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serve with flatbreads.

Excerpted from by Nadia Zerouali and Merijn Tol (Smith Street Books, 2018). Used with permission of the publisher.

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