Eggplant and Zucchini Carpaccio

Carpaccio is a term for very thin slices of raw beef or fish, but this is a vegetarian option that is packed with so many bursts of flavors and textures.  Serve it with fresh bread so you can just scoop up the carpaccio and eat it like a dip.  Barberries are difficult to find, so you can substitute dried cherries or cranberries, but chop them up first.  If you don’t have date syrup, you can substitute pomegranate molasses or honey.  Za’atar is a middle eastern spice mix that you should really seek out, but you can season the yogurt with dried oregano instead.  So, basically I’ve given you a recipe you can tweak and change to make your own!

Eggplant and Zucchini Carpaccio with Hummus, Barberries, and Pistachios

Ingredients (serves 6 appetizer portions): 

2 eggplant (preferably the long skinny Japanese variety)
2 zucchini
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup hummus (recipe follows)
1/3 cup whole milk yogurt
1/2 teaspoon za’atar
2 tablespoon date syrup
2 tablespoons dried barberries
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons pistachios, shelled, toasted, and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil

Method: With a Y-shaped vegetable peeler, shave long strips of eggplant and zucchini into a bowl, but discard centers with seeds. Sprinkle with salt and gently stir to let salt get into all the pieces.   Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.  Put half the eggplant and zucchini into the hot oil and spread around bottom of skillet.  Cook until soft, but not mushy, turning with tongs.  Remove to a plate lined with paper towel.  Repeat with other half of eggplant and zucchini.

Prepare the hummus and put 1/3 cup into a bowl.  Put yogurt into a small bowl and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the za’atar.  Mix and set aside with the hummus bowl.

You can assemble the carpaccio on one large platter to serve as an appetizer, or assemble on individual small plates.  In either case, lay out the eggplant and zucchini alternatively on the plate, crossing in two directions.  When you have two (or three) layers, use a spoon (or squirt bottle) to drizzle hummus across the carpaccio.  Then drizzle with the yogurt mixture, and date syrup.  Sprinkle the top with dried barberries, cilantro, sesame seeds, and pistachios.  Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. 

Serve immediately with fresh bread.

Hummus

Ingredients (makes 4 cups): 

2 1/2 cups dried chickpeas (or 2 cans of chickpeas, also called garbanzo)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoons salt
olive oil

In a large pot, place dried chickpeas and cover with plenty of cold water, at least 2” above the chickpeas.  Simmer until the chickpeas are tender, about 2 hours.  Drain chickpeas, reserving the cooking liquid.  Place chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor, along with 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.  Add garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and salt.  Process until smooth, adding more liquid or water until the desired consistency is reached.  Taste to see if more salt is needed.  Pour into a bowl and drizzle olive oil over the top.