RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM THE STAFF AT HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS, MICHELLE ITZKOWITZ!
Probably the most famous of Middle Eastern sandwiches is the falafel sandwich–several fried falafel balls served inside a pita pocket, topped with a chopped tomato and cucumber salad and drizzled with tahini. But equally popular in the region (although somewhat less known outside of it) is the sabich sandwich.
It’s an Iraqi-Israeli creation that features fried eggplant and hard-boiled eggs stuffed into a pita pocket along with chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, hummus, tahini, and an amba (mango) sauce. Amba, a sauce made from pickled mango, and Israeli pickles, which are spicier and more tart than American bread-and-butter pickles, are available from international and Israeli grocers and online.
Sabich Sandwiches (Pitas With Eggplant, Eggs, Hummus, and Tahini)
- 2 plum tomatoes (7 ounces; 200g), cored and diced
- Kosher salt
- Olive oil or vegetable oil, for frying
- 3/4 pound Italian eggplant (about 1 medium eggplant; 350g), sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- 1/2 large seedless cucumber, diced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cored head cabbage, thinly shredded
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 4 fresh rounds pita bread, warmed and split just enough to form a pocket
- 3/4 cup hummus
- 1/2 cup (120ml) tahini sauce (note that tahini and tahini sauce are different products)
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
- Israeli pickles, for serving (see note)
- Amba sauce, for serving (see note)
- Place tomatoes in a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl and toss with a generous pinch of salt. Let stand 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 1/4 inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches if necessary, fry eggplant slices, rotating for even browning and turning once halfway through, until golden on both sides and tender throughout, about 5 minutes; lower heat if oil begins to smoke. Transfer eggplant to a paper towel–lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
- Transfer tomatoes to a medium bowl and discard drained liquid. Add cucumber, lemon juice, and parsley to tomatoes. Season Israeli salad with salt to taste and mix well.
- In a medium bowl, toss cabbage with vinegar and season with salt.
- In each pita pocket, smear 3 tablespoons (45ml) of hummus in an even layer. Layer 2 to 3 slices fried eggplant on top of each. Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon (15ml) tahini sauce, then top with sliced eggs, Israeli pickles, and remaining tahini sauce. Spoon some of the Israeli salad and seasoned cabbage into each pita, drizzle with amba, and serve.