Ember Fired Eggplant on the rack cooking above a bed of hot coals. This technique provides the heat for cooking and the aroma of the wood smoke

Ember Fired Eggplant on the rack cooking above a bed of hot coals. This technique provides the heat for cooking and the aroma of the wood smoke

EMBER FIRED EGGPLANT WITH FETA TARTS

You’ve heard me mention before how great it is to ember or coal fire certain foods, with a good majority of those items falling in the fruit category.  One of the best fruits to use this technique with is eggplant.

Not of Nutritional Value

we selected two nice and plump eggplants for our ember cooking Eggplant, also called aubergine, is part of a flowering plant grown for its edible fruit.  This is a thick-skinned fruit that has a meaty quality to its flesh.  In fact, it can make for a filling meal.  Eggplant contains a lot of water – 92% to be specific!  It is not known to be a contributor for daily nutritional intake.  Despite all that, Eggplant remains a favorite ingredient to cook with.

Nestling is Key

When cooking in the coals, it is best to use medium sized eggplant.  It doesn’t matter what variety you select, the technique for cooking in the coals will remain the same.

Starting the fire

First, you need to start with a good wood fire, using clean hardwood.  In order to do this technique successfully, you need to ensure that there are no flames left in the fire, just hot coals.  You’ll know the coals are ready for the cooking when they are completely grayed over.  If your grilling area is large enough, you can stage a couple of burning wood pieces to provide additional heat to the area.  Just don’t cook directly in those flames.

preparing the hot coals for the eggplant. you want these to burn down leaving only the heat and no flame to burn the eggplant. Ember cooking is only over hot coals.When the coals are ready, make sure the embers are in an even layer and then place the eggplants side by side in the embers.  I like to use a fine screen in the bottom of my charcoal area to aide in heat retention.  Now, leave these untouched for about 10 minutes.  After that time, you can turn the eggplant to ensure all sides get evenly charred.  If you make a large enough fire, you can bury the eggplant completely in the hot coals and not have to do any turning.  That technique will require about 30 minutes of cooking time.

Blackened, Charred Skin Makes It Ready

Once the Ember Fired Eggplant has tenderized in the coals, it’s time to carefully remove it. Cool the eggplant, so it won’t burn and can be handled.  Then, slice each eggplant open from end to end, and gently scoop out the flesh.  Be sure to leave all the charred skin behind.  If you’re ready to use this in a recipe, then no need to do anything more to the eggplant.  If you plan on using it later, you must prevent the eggplant flesh from turning dark by incorporating 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and enough water to cover the flesh.  When finished, it’s best to store the Ember Fired Eggplant in a glass jar, bowl, or other container.

6 Needed Ingredients

To make the Ember Fired Eggplant with Feta Tarts, you’ll need a muffin pan and the following food ingredients:

  • Flesh from 1 medium size coal-fired eggplant
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped pistachios, plus 2 tablespoons for topping the tarts
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 5 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • Extra virgin olive oil for brushing dough and preparing muffin pan

Wood Flavored Eggplant Mixture

removing any char from the fire and then chopping up the eggplant to be added as the tart fillingRoughly chop the wood fired eggplant.  Then transfer to a medium bowl and add feta, 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios, coriander, red-pepper flakes, and mint.  Season with salt and fresh ground pepper and stir gently to combine.

Making the Tarts

Lightly oil the muffin pan cups.  Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough on a board and lightly brush with oil.  Stack 4 more phyllo sheets on top, brushing each with oil.  Cut the stacked sheets into 6 equal squares.  Carefully, pick up each square and place in a muffin cup, gently pressing in place.  Fill each dough cup with about ¼ cup of eggplant mixture.  Gently fold over the corners of the dough to enclose the filling as a tart.  Brush tops with oil and sprinkle with crushed pistachios.  Then Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve.

showcasing the finished product! Our ember roasted eggplant within the feta tart- yummy

 

 

 

 

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Additional reading:

-EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

-SUCCULANT WOOD FIRED STUFFED TOMATO WITH HERB RICE

TOP 10 VEGETABLES TO COOK IN HOT EMBERS

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Single Filet

Dr Smoke- "Try this because it's a really tasty appetizer and easy to make."

Dr Smoke- “Try this because it’s a really tasty appetizer and easy to make.”

Ember roasted zucchini & Ricotta Galette is a superb recipe to entertain your guests palette

Ember fired zucchini & ricotta galette is a superb recipe to entertain your guests palette

EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

Listen

We are going French with a zucchini & ricotta galette that is simply out of this world.  With ember fired zucchini we previously cooked on our charcoal grill with straight wood, this is one recipe worth making any time of year.  Get 2 zucchini ember cooked and prepare yourself for the ultimate in wood fired flavors featuring summer zucchini!

Gather the Ingredients

For our zucchini & ricotta galette, there are two separate ingredient lists needed; one for the pastry and one for the galette’s filling.

For the pastry:

1-1/4 cups flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes

1/8 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons cold butter, cubed

¼ cup sour cream

2 teaspoons lemon juice

¼ cup ice water

For the zucchini & ricotta galette filling, you will need

2 ember fired zucchini sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil

1 garlic glove, minced

Ricotta cheese- ½ cup

Grated Parmesan- ½ cup

Shredded mozzarella- ¼ cup

1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves

Egg Wash: 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water combined

Don’t Let the Word Pastry Scare You

Pastry is the first step and our recipe is very simple, so no need to get scared by the word “pastry”.  For the pastry dough, combine the flour, salt, and then cut in the butter. My technique is to use 2 butter knives to produce even mini chunks of butter.

Mix the sour cream, lemon, and water in a separate bowl, then add to the flour mixture until just combined.  Be sure not to overwork the dough.  Now refrigerate for 1 hour.

Cheesy, Creamy Goodness

While the dough chills, let’s get the filling ingredients ready that include our ember fired zucchini rounds.

First, we’ll need to combine the olive oil and garlic so we have an infused oil to add to our cheese filling.  Next, mix the ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses together.  Add one teaspoon of the garlic oil and season with salt and pepper.  You can set this mixture aside as you wait on the dough to finish chilling.

Next up, get the rolling pin at the ready, as the dough will be rolled into the galette shape.

Perfect Balance Comes Together

With our dough chilled and then rolled into a 12-inch round, it’s time to start assembling our galette.  Place the dough on parchment lined baking sheet.  Spread the ricotta mixture over the dough leaving a 2-inch border.  The ember fired zucchini slices are next, which I add in a layered “wheel” formation, followed by a generous drizzle of garlic oil.  It’s important that everything stay even for our dough to fold over and hold in all that fabulous filling.

With the cheese filling, ember fired zucchini and garlic oil added, the final ingredient of fresh basil strips is placed on top.  Time to fold over the dough to trap all the filling inside the pastry while it cooks.  A brushing of egg wash to the pastry will ensure everything gets golden during the 40-minute cook time.  Into a 400° oven, setting the timer for 25 minutes to rotate the baking tray.  That will guarantee a consistent color to our galette.

So Good, You May Not Want to Share

With the smoky, char flavor of our coal fired zucchini, the creamy filling of 3 cheeses plus basil and garlic oil, it doesn’t get any better than this!  Our buttery galette pastry adds that sweet undertone that perfectly balances out the flavors.

Whether you serve this as an appetizer, snack or even a lunch or entrée, you’ll love how the zucchini becomes the star without tasting overly smoked.  Feel free to add a side of marinara sauce for an acid kick.

We would love to hear about your version of this recipe or even learn what you do with coal fired zucchini!  Leave a comment, like us, and subscribe, as we bring you recipes, tips, techniques, and science behind wood fired cooking technique.

Looking for more items to ember fire?  Take a look at these articles:

-Ember Roasted Garlic in a Skillet

-Ember Fired Sweet Pepper

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke- “Ember roasted zucchini has a unique flavor and when you add Ricotta for a Galette. It is a superb recipe to entertain your guests palette.”

Ember roasted zucchini has a unique flavor and when you add Ricotta for a Galette it is a superb recipe to entertain your guests palette