This recipe is an impressive one-pan meal. Serve it with good bread to soak up the sauce and you are equipped to feed any group of fussy eaters.
- 4 eggplant (aubergines) (1.1 kg gross)
- 3 tsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (200 g net)
- 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (20 g net)
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 300 g beef mince
- 1 tsp salt
- black pepper
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (100 g net)
- 2 tsp (15 g) finely chopped preserved lemon
- 90 ml water
- 4 eggs
- ¾ tsp sumac
- 3 tsp chopped parsley
- 40 g tahini paste
- 1½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 tsp water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Use a sharp knife to pierce the eggplant in a few places and place each directly over a naked flame on the stovetop. Cook on medium heat, turning occasionally with metal tongs, for 20 minutes, or until outside is totally burnt and eggplant starts to collapse on itself.
Alternatively, place the pierced eggplant on baking tray lined with foil and place under a hot grill, turning every 20 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from tray and place in a colander. Cut a single slit in each eggplant, from top to base, and allow the juices to strain. Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh, avoiding all black skin, and set aside. You should have about 370 g eggplant flesh.
To make the tahini sauce, whisk together the ingredients until thick and rich. You may need to add a splash of water if it is stiff.
Heat the olive oil in a medium, heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the onion, garlic, chilli, cinnamon and cumin and sauté for 6 minutes, until softened and coloured a bit. Add the tomato paste, beef, salt and some black pepper. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring, for 5–6 minutes, or until browned well. Mix in the tomato, preserved lemon and eggplant flesh and cook for another 5 minutes. Add up to 90 ml of water if the sauce is becoming very thick. Make four small wells in the mix and break an egg into each. Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, until the eggwhites are cooked but the yolks are still runny. Covering the pan with a lid will hasten the process but make the yolks look a bit cloudy.
Remove from the heat and dot with dollops of tahini sauce, sprinkle with sumac and finish with the parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.