Roasted Eggplant with Za'atar

Beyond ratatouille and baba ghanoush, it can be tough to think of exciting ways to cook eggplant.  Roasting it brings out its sweet, toasty flavors and silky texture, but if you're not careful, it can absorb too much oil and be soggy.  Za'atar is a fantastically delicious Middle Eastern spice mix made from thyme, sesame seeds, and ground sumac (a sour-tasting red berry).  I picked some up a few weeks ago at my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, San Pedro Mart, and I've been using it on everything... you can mix it with olive oil and spread it on bread, rub it on meats for grilling, and it is absolutely addictive on eggplant!

1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 t. coarse salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. olive oil
2 t. za'atar
1 T. toasted sesame oil
2 T. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced

Heat broiler. Slice eggplant into 3/4-inch-thick rounds, and cut each into 3/4-inch-wide strips. Toss with coarse salt and ground pepper. Spread in a single layer on lightly oiled baking sheet. Whisk remaining ingredients together, and drizzle over eggplant. Toss to coat and spread evenly again. Broil until eggplant is browned and tender, about 15 minutes. Serves 2.


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