Adventures in Sabih

After a recent trip to London brought me to Yotam Ottolenghi's delicious resto in Islington, I decided it was time to tackle one of the many yummy dishes in his book "Jerusalem."   My Israeli husband has a love for all things Sabih, so I figured it was a good place to start.  It was developed by Iraqi Jews settling in the 1950s in the city of Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv.  Made with eggplant, tomato, cucumber, green onion, parsley, tahini...and a little amba or s'chug if you're feeling adventurous (or spicy!)...this rainbow of a plate is as delicious and nutritious as it looks. 

My Adventure started with a trip to our local Israeli market on St. Marks Place for some fresh pita, amba, s'chug, and tahini.  Everything else (and sometimes even these items) can be found at your local grocery store.  If you don't have access to a good pita, fresh bread works just as well!   

What you'll need:

2 large eggplantsAbout 1 1/4 cup sunflower oil4 slices rustic white bread, toasted (or pita)

4 free-range eggs, hard-boiled and cut into 1cm-thick slices                                                                          

Salt and black pepper

For the salad:

2 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1cm dice

2 mini cucumbers, cut into 1cm dice

2 spring onions, thinly sliced1½ tbsp

chopped parsley2 tsp

lemon juice

1½ tbsp olive oil

Optional:  Tahini, humus, amba, s'chug (though I highly recommend them all!)

Using a vegetable peeler, peel off strips of eggplant skin from top to bottom, so they end up like a zebra, with alternating black-and-white stripes. Cut both eggplants widthways into 1 in. thick slices.

Heat the sunflower oil in a wide pan. Carefully – the oil spits – fry the eggplant in batches until nice and dark, turning once, for six to eight minutes; add oil if needed as you cook the batches. When done, the eggplant should be completely tender in the centre. Remove from the pan, leave to drain on kitchen paper, then sprinkle with salt.

Make the salad by mixing the tomato, cucumber, spring onion, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. (*tip: I make this salad all throughout the summer so I always have these ingredients handy. It's so, so easy and is a great healthy side for any meal.)

To serve, place a slice of bread on each plate. Spoon a tablespoon of tahini sauce over each, then arrange overlapping slices of eggplant on top. Drizzle over some more tahini, without completely covering the aubergines. Season each egg slice, and lay on top of the aubergine. Drizzle more tahini on top and spoon over as much s'chug as you like – be careful, it's hot! Serve the salad on the side; spoon a little on top of each sabih, too, if you like.