Phyllo Tarts with Smoky Eggplant, Bulgur and Roasted Red Peppers
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped into ¼-inch dice
- ¼ cup coarse bulgur wheat, rinsed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
- 3 ounces feta, crumbled
- 2 medium eggplants (about 1¾pound total)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced and then mashed with a pinch of salt to a paste
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 scallions, trimmed and sliced paper-thin
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or ¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes plus ½ teaspoon paprika)
- 4 sheets phyllo dough
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup grated Asiago
- 1 red pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, stemmed, and cut into ¼-inch strips
Prepare the bulgur and eggplant a day in advance if you like. Baked phyllo becomes soggy as it absorbs moisture from the air, especially in humid environments.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the bulgur, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¾ cup water. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until all the water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then season with salt and pepper and stir in the walnuts and feta.
- Preheat the broiler. Put the eggplants on a baking sheet pan and poke them several times with a fork so they don’t explode while cooking. Place the pan under the broiler. Turn the eggplants as the skin blackens so they cook evenly. Broil until they are thoroughly blackened and the flesh is very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
- As soon as the eggplants are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh. Discard the skin. Finely chop the flesh. Mix the eggplant with the garlic, red wine vinegar, the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, the scallions, parsley, mint, and Aleppo pepper. Season with salt.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Lay a sheet of phyllo dough on the counter. Keep the others from drying out by covering with plastic wrap. Brush the sheet with a thin layer of melted butter. Fold the sheet crosswise in half. Brush again with a thin layer of butter. Fold crosswise in half again, brush with butter, and then fold in half again, so you have a rectangle, measuring about 5×6 inches. Place the folded phyllo on the parchment-lined sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo.
- Cover each phyllo rectangle with one-quarter of the bulgur mixture. Cover the bulgur with the eggplant mixture and then sprinkle with the Asiago. Garnish the tops with crisscrossing strips of roasted red pepper.
- Bake the tarts until the phyllo is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. They’re also good at room temperature.