These days many different varieties of tomatoes are readily available. I like to use a selection of heirloom varieties in salads, such as black Russian, green tiger, and beef tomatoes. Flavoursome vine-ripened or ‘truss’ tomatoes will also do well.
Most people are acquainted with tahini — the Middle Eastern paste made from crushed sesame seeds — through its use in popular dips such as hummus and baba ghanoush. But it is also common to find it thinned down with water and used as a base for sauces. In this, its simplest form, it can often be a little bitter for Western palates. But partnered with creamy yoghurt, and flavoured with a little garlic and lemon juice, it becomes divinely smooth and creamy, with a mysterious earthy flavour.
Tahini-yoghurt dressings are frequently served with cold baked fish, or with grilled meats or even falafel. In this substantial salad, the rich oiliness of eggplant (aubergine) is matched with the dark flavours of nutty tahini, and sharpened by the lemony-sourness of yoghurt. — Greg and Lucy Malouf, authors of Moorish
Cut the eggplant in half and then into long, French fry–like wedges.
Put them in a colander and sprinkle the flesh with salt. After 20 minutes rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towel.
Fry the eggplant in the oil, turning from time to time, until they are coloured a rich deep-golden brown. Drain on paper towel.
Place the eggplant in a mixing bowl with the parsley, onion, and tomatoes.
Add the tablespoon of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
Toss gently then tip onto a serving plate. Scatter on the baby herbs, if using, and sprinkle with sumac and an extra drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
Drizzle generously with the dressing, or serve it in a pitcher on the side for people to add their own.
Combine the yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic paste.
Thin with a little water if necessary — the sauce should have the consistency of thin honey.
Taste and adjust the flavours as necessary.
What you are aiming for is a good balance of sharp yoghurt and lemon with garlic and nutty tahini.
Refrigerate and use within 2–3 days.
Recipe excerpted with permission from Moorish: Flavours from Mecca to Marrakech by Greg and Lucy Malouf (Hardie Grant Books, 2014)