We salt and then broil slices of eggplant to give them the best texture and flavor in our open-faced Israeli sandwiches.
Israeli Eggplant and Egg Sandwiches
SERVES 4 VEG
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Sabich , a soft pita stuffed with creamy fried eggplant, hard-cooked eggs, savory hummus, and crunchy pickles, is a popular Israeli street food. To create an appealing version that could be made at home, we started with the eggplant. Although it’s traditionally fried, a few tests revealed that tasters preferred the flavor and texture of broiled eggplant. Salting the eggplant for 30 minutes before broiling helped to eliminate excess moisture and encourage deep, flavorful browning. Chopped dill pickles offered great briny flavor, and cherry tomatoes, red onion, and parsley provided bright, fresh notes. Sabich is often eaten as a sandwich, but we decided to lay the pitas flat and pile everything on top to create a beautiful presentation and make the dish easier to eat. Cutting our hard-cooked eggs into thin slices (as opposed to wedges) worked best, since the flat slices could easily be layered with the other ingredients. Finishing our open-faced sandwiches with a drizzle of our tangy Tahini-Yogurt Sauce and spicy zhoug , an Israeli hot sauce made with cilantro and parsley, brought all the elements together. We prefer to use our homemade Pita Bread and Classic Hummus , but you can use store-bought varieties. If you can’t find Aleppo pepper, you can substitute ¼ teaspoon paprika and ¼ teaspoon finely chopped red pepper flakes.
1 pound eggplant, sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds
Salt and pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered
½ cup finely chopped dill pickles
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
4 (8-inch) pita breads
1 cup hummus
6 hard-cooked large eggs, sliced thin (see here )
½ cup Tahini-Yogurt Sauce
½ cup Green Zhoug
1 teaspoon ground dried Aleppo pepper
1. Spread eggplant on baking sheet lined with paper towels, sprinkle both sides with 2 teaspoons salt, and let sit for 30 minutes.
2. Adjust oven rack 4 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Thoroughly pat eggplant dry with paper towels, arrange on aluminum foil–lined rimmed baking sheet in single layer, and lightly brush both sides with 2 tablespoons oil. Broil eggplant until spotty brown, about 5 minutes per side.
3. Combine tomatoes, pickles, onion, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Lay each pita on individual plate, spread with ¼ cup hummus, and top evenly with eggplant, tomato salad, and eggs. Drizzle with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce and Green Zhoug and sprinkle with Aleppo. Serve immediately.
Scrambled Eggs with Prosciutto and Asparagus
SERVES 6 to 8 FAST
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Fluffy, light, and creamy scrambled eggs are a perfect neutral backdrop for any number of Mediterranean ingredients. Cooking our eggs in olive oil gave them rich flavor and ensured that they remained tender throughout cooking. Adding a small amount of water to the eggs before whisking created the fluffiest texture since the water turned to steam during cooking. We decided on fresh asparagus, meaty prosciutto, and nutty Parmesan as our flavorful additions. We cooked the asparagus first to cook it through and achieve some light browning; using the same pan to cook the asparagus and the eggs kept our recipe streamlined. Once the eggs were done, we folded in the cooked asparagus, prosciutto, and Parmesan to warm them through without risking excess browning. If you don’t have prosciutto, you can substitute any thinly sliced deli ham.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut on bias into ¼-inch lengths
12 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped coarse
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add asparagus and cook until crisp-tender and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes; transfer to bowl and cover to keep warm.
2. Beat eggs, water, salt, and pepper together with fork in bowl until thoroughly combined and mixture is pure yellow; do not overbeat.
3. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add egg mixture and, using heat-resistant rubber spatula, constantly and firmly scrape along bottom and sides of skillet until eggs begin to clump and spatula leaves trail on bottom of skillet, 1½ to 2 minutes.
4. Reduce heat to low and gently but constantly fold eggs until clumped and slightly wet, 30 to 60 seconds. Off heat, gently fold in asparagus, prosciutto, and Parmesan. Serve immediately.
1.Add egg mixture to skillet. Using heat-resistant rubber spatula, constantly and firmly scrape along bottom and sides of skillet until eggs begin to clump and spatula leaves trail.
2.Reduce heat to low and gently but constantly fold eggs until clumped and slightly wet, 30 to 60 seconds.
There are numerous—and often confusing—options when buying eggs at the supermarket. And when eggs are the focal point of a dish, their quality makes a big difference. Here’s what we’ve learned in the test kitchen about buying eggs.
The shell’s hue depends on the breed of the chicken. The run-of-the-mill leghorn chicken produces the typical white egg. Brown-feathered birds, such as Rhode Island Reds, produce ecru- to coffee-colored eggs. Despite marketing hype extolling the virtues of nonwhite eggs, our tests proved that shell color has no effect on flavor.
FARM-FRESH AND ORGANIC
In our taste tests, farm-fresh eggs were standouts. The large yolks were bright orange and sat very high above the comparatively small whites, and the flavor of these eggs was exceptionally rich and complex. Organic eggs followed in second place, with eggs from hens raised on a vegetarian diet in third, and the standard supermarket eggs last. Differences were easily detected in egg-based dishes like a scramble or a frittata, but not in baked goods.
EGGS AND OMEGA-3S
Several companies are marketing eggs with a high level of omega-3 fatty acids, the healthful unsaturated fats also found in some fish. In our taste test, we found that more omega-3s translated into a richer egg flavor. Why? Commercially raised chickens usually peck on corn and soy, but chickens on an omega-3-enriched diet have supplements of greens, flaxseeds, and algae, which also add flavor, complexity, and color to their eggs. Read labels carefully and look for brands that guarantee at least 200 milligrams of omega-3s per egg.
HOW OLD ARE MY EGGS?
Egg cartons are marked with both a sell-by date and a pack date. The pack date is the day the eggs were packed, which is generally within a week of when they were laid but may be as much as 30 days later. The sell-by date is within 30 days of the pack date, which is the legal limit set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In short, a carton of eggs may be up to two months old by the end of the sell-by date. But according to the USDA, eggs are still fit for consumption for an additional three to five weeks past the sell-by date.