Eggplant-Saffron Romesco With Toasted Pita Recipe

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Eggplant-Saffron Romesco With Toasted Pita
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Eggplant-Saffron Romesco with Toasted Pita
Prep Time
Cook Time
to 10 servings
Total time: 46 minutes
  • Eggplant-Saffron Romesco
  • 2 large eggplants (about 2 pounds), halved
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3 large beefsteak tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 lemon peels, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon za'atar spice
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • ½ teaspoon (15 turns) black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons whole-milk yogurt
  • ½ cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • ½ cup Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pita
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole caraway seeds
  • 9 pieces pita, split open
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  1. Salt the eggplant: Score the eggplant halves with a knife and set on a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt and place in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 2 hours.
  2. Make the pita: Preheat the oven to 300°. In a medium skillet set over medium heat add the cumin, coriander, fennel and caraway seeds, and toast until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool. Once the spices cool, add the spices and 1 teaspoon of salt to a spice grinder and grind until a fine powder forms.
  3. Place the pita on a baking sheet and brush with the melted butter. Sprinkle with the spice blend and bake until the pita is toasted, about 15-25 minutes.
  4. Turn the oven to 400° convection roast (or 425° for conventional ovens, adding abou 10 minutes to the cooking time). Transfer the eggplant from the refrigerator to a baking sheet and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1½ teaspoons of the salt. Place in the oven and roast until the eggplant is tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, set aside to cool slightly, then scoop out the flesh and set aside to cool completely.
  5. On another baking sheet toss together the tomatoes, onion, garlic, lemon peels, za'atar spice blend, pepper flakes, saffron, the remaining olive oil, the remaining 2 teaspoons salt and the pepper. Place in the oven and roast until the vegetables are tender, stirring from time to time, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  6. In a food processor, combine the cooled eggplant and tomato mixture. Add the yogurt, almonds, parsley and lemon juice and purée until mostly smooth. Place in the refrigerator to chill completely. Serve with toasted pita.
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