Next door to Shiraz Persian Restaurant in Elmsford is the Middle Eastern market of the same name, Shiraz Gourmet.
I went in looking for bread that would go well with mashed smoked eggplant (mirza ghasemi), an appetizer I’d eaten at the restaurant Shiraz last week and planned to recreate.
Found this bread in one of the freezer cases:
It’s the Iranian flatbread called barbari. This particular one was over two feet long and frozen solid; the instructions said to thaw it out and heat it up. Looked about right to dip into mirza ghasemi, so I snagged it and took it home.
1 large eggplant
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp liquid smoke
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper
The first step was to roast the eggplant at 375 for 40 minutes, until the skin resembled that of an 80 year old man.
It’s amazing how the roasting loosens the skin up. I chopped off the ends, peeled the skin away (so easy it pulled away with my fingers) and mashed the eggplant in a bowl.
Also roasted the tomato at 375 for about 10 minutes, peeled it, and mashed it.
The garlic and onion went into a pan with olive oil over medium heat. Stirred that around for a few minutes, then added in the eggplant and the rest of the ingredients (except the egg).
I cooked the mixture down until most of the liquid had evaporated, pushed it over to one side, and added the egg into the pan. Once the egg was halfway cooked, I mixed it in with eggplant. It thickened the whole thing up nicely, which I think is the point (other recipes call for the eggs to be fried and placed on top though).
The barbari went into the oven for about 10 minutes (no thawing), and came out perfectly crisp.
And that made for a light but satisfying dinner.
I’d use less tomato paste next time, and possibly roast the onion and garlic cloves to give them even more flavor. The liquid smoke I added just for the hell of it, but I thought it worked.
A few tweaks here and there and you can make a pretty fine mirza ghasemi. Saffron ice cream, on the other hand… that would take more work.