over 2 years ago
Solitarycook's Mediterranean Pita Sandwich is silky, chewy, warm and very comforting. The eggplant just soaks up that beautiful mix of tomato, onion, lemon, olive and feta and delivers one perfect bite after another. I would add a bit of fresh mint for that extra Mediterranean seal and cook the onion and tomato mix on medium heat throughout. This is super easy to make and really yummy on warm pita bread.
Pita breads, especially if you make your own, are that perfect combination of soft, tender, chewy, resilient. This filling is designed to make the most of all those qualities. Its silkiness derives from oven-roasted eggplant and a generous hand with the olive oil. It is bright/sweet with gape tomatoes and Meyer lemon, and tart/salty from Kalamata olives and Feta cheese. Leftovers make an outstanding room-temperature dip . . . . to serve with pita chips.
- 1 eggplant
- Olive oil
- Sea or kosher salt and pepper
- 1 yellow onion, 1/4" dice
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, minced
- 2 handfuls grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- Roasted eggplant, pulp scooped out
- Zest & juice of 1 Meyer lemon*
- 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, lightly chopped
- 1/4 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 pita breads, purchased or homemade http://wp.me/p27pPl-bv
* Meyer lemons are smaller and significantly sweeter than conventional lemons. If the latter are what you have, use zest & juice of 1/2 lemon, plus zest & juice of 1/4 orange.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Brush cut sides with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Lay eggplant cut side down on parchment. Bake until the flesh is very tender when you pierce it with a paring knife, about 20-30 minutes, depending upon size, especially of the bulb portion.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet or shallow stove-top braising pan, film the bottom with olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Don't stint on it; it's going to be part of the total flavor profile. When hot, the oil will "shimmer" or "ribbon". At that point, add the onion, red pepper flakes, fresh thyme leaves, and grape tomatoes, along with a pinch of salt. Sauté until onion and tomatoes have softened. Add garlic and continue to sauté until very fragrant. Add pine nuts and continue to cook until they take on a toasted color and aroma. If eggplant is not yet done, remove pan from heat until it is.
When eggplant is done, remove from oven. Hold each half using a kitchen towel or pot holder. Use a large metal spoon to carefully scoop the tender pulp out of each one. It should have a beautifully silken consistency. Drop into skillet with onions and garlic. Use your spoon to break up the pulp and incorporate the onions, garlic and seasonings. Continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add lemon zest and juice, and Kalamatas. Sauté until olives are warmed through. Add Feta cheese, and continue cooking until slightly, but not completely, melted. Remember, the olives and the Feta are going to be salty, to do the final taste for seasoning only after they're in and warmed through.
Remove from heat. Let sit while you prepare the pita breads. Cut each one in half across the diameter. Use your fingers to gently open the pocket in each side. Spoon some of the filling into each one. Serve immediately!
- 329 calories
- 19g total fat
- 4g saturated fat
- 17mg cholesterol
- 344mg sodium
- 40g carbohydrate (19g dietary fiber, 15g sugar)
- 11g protein