While not Israeli in origin (chermoula is actually a Moroccan condiment), this dish speaks to the many culinary influences of Israel's North African and Middle Eastern neighbors. The sauce is wonderfully complex--bright, herbaceous, and spicy. Israel has a vegetable-centric cuisine (they are eaten at every meal); cooking vegetables over an open flame until deeply charred is a favorite cooking method.
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium eggplants, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 2 pounds)
How to Make It
Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add cumin and coriander seeds; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Crush seeds with a mortar and pestle or a small heavy skillet. Add rind, salt, paprika, red pepper, and garlic; mash to form a paste. Place spice mixture, cilantro, parsley, and juice in the bowl of a food processor; pulse until finely chopped, scraping sides of bowl as needed. With processor on, slowly pour olive oil through food chute, processing just until blended.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Arrange one-fourth of eggplant slices in pan; cook 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until browned and tender (slightly charred is even better). Place cooked eggplant on a platter. Repeat procedure 3 times with cooking spray and remaining eggplant. Drizzle cilantro mixture over eggplant.