• Saturday, November 28, 2020

Middle Eastern Cuisine

Middle East Feast
By , Galavante Contributor
January 20, 2014

We’ve done our share of traveling. Without seeming too, well, "been there, done that," it’s not our first rodeo. Gushing is never attractive; however, we don’t think it’s over the top to describe dining in the desert under a star-filled sky as impressive. The quiet makes anything seem possible. Lounging next to the Arabian Sea, with dunes at your back and miles of sand in either direction, maybe it is. Our menu, a Middle Eastern mix, will hopefully bring back that taste of the impossible.

Ginger-Cardamom Martini with Grapefruit


1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 (3-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
3 cardamom pods, smashed
2 oz gin
1/2 oz grapefruit juice
splash of lemon juice


Find yourself a bit parched, surrounded by desert sand, silky as it may be? Relief is only a few shakes away, thanks to this gin and juice combo.

Yield: 1 cocktail

Add sugar, water, ginger, and cardamom to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Shut off heat, and set aside for 1 hour. Strain, and refrigerate in an airtight container until thoroughly chilled.

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add 1/2 oz simple syrup, gin, grapefruit and lemon juices. Shake vigorously, and pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a twist of grapefruit.


Roasted Eggplant with Za’atar, Lemon and Garlic


1 eggplant
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp za’atar
1/4 cup lemon juice
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper,  to taste


Eggplant can be tricky to prepare – either too greasy or too mushy or just plain dry. This technique is an easy fix, and healthy, too, since it’s light on the oil.

Yield: 4–6 servings

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise, and place skin-side down on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Make 7 (1 1/2-inch) slices in each half of eggplant.

Add oil to a sauté pan on medium-low heat. Add garlic and za’atar, and cook until garlic is lightly browned. Add lemon juice, and mix. Take a spoonful of garlic-oil mixture, and stuff inside where eggplant is sliced. Repeat process until each slice is stuffed with garlic-oil mixture. Brush top of eggplant with remaining oil from pan, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until eggplant is very soft and lightly browned, about 40–50 minutes.

Lobster Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette and Enoki Mushrooms


For lobster:
2 tbsp fresh grapefruit juice
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp shallots, minced
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb cooked lobster meat
2 tbsp parsley, chopped fine
2 tbsp chives, chopped
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

For mushrooms:
1/4 champagne vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp mustard seeds
8 oz enoki mushrooms, stems trimmed


Oman’s scorching temps suppress the appetite, but passing on this refined salad is like saying “no” to an upgrade from a suite to a villa – it’s just not possible.

Yield: 4 servings

For lobster:
Add grapefruit and lime juices, mustard, honey and shallots to a bowl. Whisk, and season with salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking constantly. Add lobster to a bowl. Drizzle vinaigrette over lobster, and mix. Add parsley and chives, and mix.

For mushrooms:
Bring vinegar, sugar, water, peppercorns and mustard seeds to a boil in a small pot. Remove from heat. Add mushrooms to an airtight container. Pour vinegar mixture over mushrooms, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

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