It seems far-fetched that a Texan would launch a restaurant that blends the flavors of India, Spain and the Middle East--but that's exactly what chef Stephan Pyles has done at his newest Dallas restaurant, Samar. Since its opening, his menu has garnered local fans and attracted visiting fooderati intrigued by the restaurant's buzz. And though the concept sounds convoluted, the food is simply inspired. Pyles's take on moutabal--a Lebanese eggplant dip--borrows from the eastern Mediterranean pantry and is served with Indian naan. The flavors are complex, but the recipe is effortless.
Recipe adapted from Stephan Pyles, Samar, Dallas
Yield: Approximately 2 cups
1 large eggplant (about 1½ pounds)
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves
Flatbread (such as naan or pita), for serving
1. Preheat the broiler to high and position a rack 4 to 6 inches beneath it.
2. Pierce the eggplant all over with a fork and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil the eggplant, watching carefully and turning every 3 to 5 minutes to prevent burning, until charred on the outside and slightly collapsed, about 15 minutes total. Let the eggplant cool for 10 minutes.
3. Peel and discard the skin and scoop the flesh into a colander set over a bowl. Press on the eggplant gently with the back of a large spoon and let any excess moisture drain for 5 to 10 minutes. Discard the liquid that accumulates in the bowl.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggplant with the garlic, salt, oil, yogurt and lemon juice. Chill, covered, for one hour to allow the flavors to meld. Just before serving, stir in the mint and serve with the naan.