Mediterranean Eggplant Steaks and Orzo Salad with Walnuts, Oregano and Tomatoes
- 1/2 pound orzo pasta
- 2 medium eggplants, cut into 8 steaks lengthwise, 1-inch thick
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for grilling eggplant, plus 5 tablespoons, divided
- 2 boxes frozen spinach (10 ounces each), defrosted
- 2 roasted red peppers, pat dry and chopped
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic, grated
- Handful pitted olives, chopped
- 1 tub hummus (16 ounces) (such Tribe of Two Sheiks 40 Spice brand)
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- Handful fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 cup toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
- 2-3 stems fresh oregano, leaves stripped from stems and finely chopped
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
Heat grill pan to medium-high. Heat oven to 400°F.
Place a pot of water on stove to boil for pasta. Salt water and cook orzo to al dente.
Brush the eggplant steaks lightly with EVOO and season liberally on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill 3-4 minutes for small eggplant and 4-6 minutes for large eggplant, turning occasionally, until the steaks begin to become tender but are not fully cooked.
While eggplant cooks, defrost spinach in microwave on defrost setting, 7-8 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon EVOO in a skillet and add roasted peppers and garlic. Squeeze the spinach dry and separate as you add it to the skillet. Season the spinach with salt and pepper and heat through. Stir in olives and remove from heat. Place the eggplants on baking sheets. Top each steak with a few forkfuls of spinach mixture. Spread a few rounded spoonfuls of hummus evenly across the steaks on top of the spinach, covering it completely in a thin layer. Toss the bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons EVOO and parsley. Divide the bread crumbs and scatter them over the steaks on top of the hummus. Bake to brown bread crumbs, 5 minutes or so.
Toast walnuts while you cut up the tomatoes and place in a bowl. Cool nuts slightly, chop and add to tomatoes. Add the zest and juice of a lemon, 2 tablespoons EVOO, feta and oregano. Drain pasta, toss with tomato mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve 2 steaks per person with orzo alongside.