Broiling is a method of cooking that many of us tend to avoid, despite the fact it’s easy to use and can produce quick and tasty dishes, with grill-like flavor, in any ordinary kitchen.
Maybe this reluctance is due to the fact that, while in grilling the direct heat comes from beneath the cooked item, in broiling the heat comes from above. However, once one gets used to that, broiling becomes another cooking method used often. It is the perfect quick method for preparing small chicken cuts, fish, and for roasting vegetables.
In the recipes here, I’ve chosen this cooking method for both preparing eggplant salads, and for boneless chicken thighs. Obviously, each dish can be prepared and served on its own, but combing them together is very flavorful and highly recommended. Try it and enjoy.
* If you don’t have the broiler option in your oven, you can prepare the dishes in a preheated 425F (220C) oven instead. Roasting time for the eggplants will take about 10-15 minutes longer. Another option for the chicken is to prepare it in a grilling pan.
* Don’t skip the step of piercing the eggplants, as otherwise they can explode while broiling.
* Sumac, a reddish Middle-Eastern spice, can be found in specialty stores or online. As it adds a subtle acidity to the meat, if you can’t find it, substitute with 1 tsp of lemon juice.
Prep time: Eggplants: 20 minutes; Chicken: 10 minutes
Cooking time: Eggplants: 15 minutes; Chicken: 10-15 minutes
For the eggplant-pepper salad:
2 large eggplants
1 Tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 cups chopped mini peppers
¼ jalapeno, chopped
1 tsp salt
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ tsp cumin powder
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
For the eggplant-Tahini salad:
1 large eggplant
3 Tbs tahini paste
3 Tbs water
1 Tbs lemon juice
½ tsp salt
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
For the chicken:
2 Lbs (900 grams) boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
½ tsp each: sweet and hot paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and turmeric powder
2 tsp sumac powder (see notes)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
1. The eggplants: preheat the broiler. Place the eggplants in a deep pan, and prick them in a few places with a toothpick (this is important, as otherwise the eggplants can explode while broiling…). Place under the broiler. Broil, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the skin blackens and breaks. Let cool a bit before removing the charred skin.
2. Eggplants-peppers salad: mix the olive oil and garlic in a medium flat pot and fry for a minute over medium-high heat. Add the chopped peppers, jalapeno and salt. Mix and fry for 2-3 minutes, until the peppers soften. Take off the heat and let cool a bit before adding the cilantro. Add two of the prepared eggplants, lemon juice and cumin, and mix. Place back on a medium-high heat and cook, mixing occasionally, for 2 minutes, until most of the liquids evaporate. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Bring to room temperature before serving.
3. Eggplant-tahini salad: mix the tahini with the water, lemon juice and salt (at first it will look as if separated, but keep on whisking, to form a smooth paste). Add the garlic and parsley and mix well. Add the paste to one the prepared eggplants. Mix well, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
4. The chicken: place the chicken in a bowl and add the spices, salt and oil. Mix to coat with the spices, cover and keep at room temperature for 15 minutes. Arrange the the thighs in a flat pan, in one layer. Place under the broiler and broil for 10-15 minutes, turning the thighs twice and rotating the pan, until the chicken is done. Slice and serve with the eggplant salads.