Toasted pita bread is dipped in a spicy tomato broth, topped with tender roasted eggplant, and finally smothered in a lemony tahini sauce – it’s a comforting Middle Eastern style.
Fatteh is a traditional eastern Mediterranean dish that is usually prepared, in its most basic form, with pieces of torn bread, boiled chickpeas and a yogurt or tahini sauce. I do it often and I fully appreciate the simplicity of the original chickpea, but this eggplant fat is particularly delicious. The spicy and herbaceous tomato sauce made from caramelized onions takes this version to another level.
Take note: this eggplant fatteh is exactly the kind of dish that will remind you in the kitchen two hours after eating it for dinner. Soon, you will take a fork and pick it, carefully collecting bread, eggplant, tahini sauce and toasted nuts for each comforting bite. You have been warned!
This recipe for Eggplant Fatteh, a pan from the Middle East, includes grilled pita bread, spicy tomato sauce and a lemon tahini garnish.
For the Spiced Tomato Sauce with Eggplant
- 3 large eggplants, peeled and sliced lengthwise (about ¼ inch thick)
- 1 medium onion, diced small
- 1 bell pepper or frying pepper, diced medium
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- pinch of cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- black pepper, to taste
- 3 large tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (about 3 cups total) or use the same amount of basic tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
For the Bread Layer
- 4 loaves of pita bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
For the Tahini Sauce
- ¾ cup tahini
- ⅔ cup water
- 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
For the Topping
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds, toasted
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Peel the eggplant and cut it lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices. Place the slices on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, sprinkle each slice with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast in a preheated oven at 450 ° F. Roast until the slices are cooked and golden, about 30 minutes.
- While the eggplant is roasting, start the tomato sauce by sautéing the onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Throw a pinch of salt on the onions and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until golden and caramelized. Once the onions have taken a nice brown color (not burnt), add the chopped pepper and chopped garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the paprika, allspice, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, oregano and black pepper. Stir constantly for ten seconds to make the spices bloom, then add the tomatoes, water, bay leaf and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Tear 4 loaves of pita bread, separate the buns first, then tear each half into bite-size pieces and put in a baking dish.
- When the eggplant is cooked, remove it from the oven and put in the baking dish with torn bread. While the eggplant slices cool on the counter, watch the toast in the oven. Open the oven and toss the bread with a spoon once or twice. When the pieces of bread are toasted and crisp, remove the pan from the oven.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, water, lemon juice and salt until smooth. Put aside.
- At this point, the eggplant slices should be cold enough to be chopped. Gather 5 or 6 slices at a time, cut them into bite-size pieces and add them to the tomato sauce. Now the sauce may have cooled slightly, so heat it for a few minutes over high heat with the pieces of eggplant inside. (If the mixture is very thick and uncooked, stir in ½ cup of water.) Pour this mixture over the bread and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
- Pour all the tahini sauce over the smoothed eggplant, making sure to cover the entire surface. Under the grill or on the upper rack in a very hot oven, grill the fatteh until the top has golden spots.
- Remove from the oven. Toast the flaked almonds by sautéing them in a small saucepan with 1 teaspoon of oil over high heat. Stir constantly until golden and fragrant. Sprinkle the almonds and chopped parsley over the entire surface of the fatteh and serve.
- For best results, use a deeper baking dish with a smaller surface rather than a large, shallow dish.
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