Make it. Eat it. Love it.
Sumac is something I never cooked with back in the States. I wanted to once, but wasn’t able to find it anywhere. When I came to Israel, it was everywhere. The first chance I had, (which was my first day here and I made my husband take me to the spice market-yes this is what I was most interested in) I bought a bag of it and have been looking for different ways to use it ever since.
From Israeli food to Arab, Iranian, Lebanese and Turkish cuisine, sumac is used frequently throughout the Middle East. This extraordinary spice enhances flavors of food without overpowering them. If you are not familiar with middle eastern food, sumac is something that you should try and seek out at ethnic markets. Sumac is made from crushing dried sumac berries and it’s tangy and sourish taste makes it a popular selection for salads, meats, rices and garnish for mezze.
I love when basic ingredients come together to make something that has a complex flavor. Sumac lends a hand in this salad, helping to enhance the natural flavors of the vegetables, giving them a lemony flavor. The char grilled eggplant against the sweet tomatoes and crunchy red onions is the perfect light lunch. It just tastes like spring. If you understand what I mean by ‘tastes like spring’ then this salad may just be for you.
I hope that wherever you are in the world you will be able to find this tangy, purplish red spice that I have come to love and use so often.
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 Eggplants, Cut into rounds
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 Large Ripe Tomatoes, Cut into wedges
1 Large Red Onion, Sliced Thin
4 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Mint, Chopped
3 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
2 Teaspoons Sumac
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
Season eggplant with salt and pepper. Using 2 Tablespoons of the oil, brush the eggplant rounds on both sides.
Over an open flame chargrill eggplant for about 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
When eggplant rounds are cool enough to handle cut them into quarters.
In a serving bowl place eggplant, tomato wedges, and onion.
Sprinkle with the chopped mint, oregano and sumac.
In a small mixing bowl whisk together remaining olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle over the salad and toss.