Many months ago I spied a dish called Sultan’s Delight on a menu at a restaurant called Talullas. I was so taken with the name (so mysterious and decadent sounding!) that I skimmed the description and placed my order confident that if it was good enough to delight a Sultan it would certainly delight me, too.
I expected a complex dish, but was served the opposite – in front of me was a plate of velvety smooth eggplant puree topped with grilled steak and perfectly charred red peppers. It was simple, fresh, and incredibly satisfying.
It was, in fact, delightful.
After some research on Epicurious it turns out it’s not that hard to make at home, so I recreated it in my own kitchen. You never know when a Sultan might stop by (fingers crossed!) so I’m now prepared – you know, just in case.
It all starts with an eggplant and three simple steps – first you grill it, then you soak it, and then you mash in a simple bechamel sauce. Traditional recipes have you top that velvety smooth eggplant puree with braised lamb, but I followed the example set by Tallulas and went the grilled steak route. It just felt right for this time of year.
So a Sultan may not stop by anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t delight our friends and family with this dish when eggplants are at their peak this summer. The rich eggplant puree is so delicious with the tender grilled steak and fresh red peppers that are grilled just long enough to get a smoky char. It’s deceivingly complex and sure to impress. I hope you give it a try!
Traditional Sultan’s Delight is made with braised lamb. However, this version is inspired by a favorite restaurant, Talluja’s in Chapel Hill, NC, where they pile grilled steak and charred red peppers on top of a traditional eggplant puree. This dish is simple, fresh, and satisfying.
- 1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pound)
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into thick slices
- I pound top sirloin, seasoned well on both sides with salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup finely grated pecorino cheese
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat an outdoor grill to 400 degrees. Using a skewer, poke several holes in the eggplant to allow steam to escape while it’s cooking. Place the eggplant on the hot grill and close the lid (adjust the temperature if it gets too high or too low – you’ll want to maintain it between 400 and 500 degrees). Turn the eggplant every so often until it’s cooked through (it will soften on the inside and char on the outside) about 20 minutes or so. You’ll know it’s done when it collapses after you remove it from the grill.
- Let it cool a bit before peeling off the skin (keep the stem on). Discard the skins and fill a large bowl with water and lemon juice. Soak the eggplant for 15 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the water, discard the stem, and let it drain by placing it in a colander in the sink. Let it drain for at least 45 minutes.
- While the eggplant is draining, grill the steak and peppers. Heat the grill to 450 degrees. Lightly brush the steak with olive oil before adding to the grill. Lay the red pepper slices on the grill (make sure they don’t fall through the grates!). Cook the steak until desired doneness and then remove it from the grill and let it rest, covered, on a plate. Grill the peppers just until the edges start to char and the remove and set aside.
- While the steak is resting, melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk it together with the butter until it forms a paste and starts to brown. Slowly pour in the milk and whisk continuously to prevent lumps. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add in the drained eggplant and, using a potato masher or fork, mash it all together until smooth. Stir in the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper.
- Slice the steak against the grain. Spoon the eggplant puree on each plate, top with the sliced steak and grilled bell peppers.
Adapted from Epicurious[br]http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/braised-lamb-over-silky-eggplant-puree-sultans-delight-105018