Greek Eggplant

Makes 6-8 servings

The spiciness of Merguez sausage works great with this recipe; it’s a lamb sausage flavored with cumin, fennel and garlic, as well as chili pepper or harissa which provides the characteristic taste and red color. Ground lamb, beef or turkey would work equally well but double the amount of ground spices to make up for the un-spiced meat. You could also use shrimp, chicken, or no meat at all.

1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 medium or 3 small eggplant, sliced ¼” thick
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 pound lamb sausage
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
8 ounces feta cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with olive oil and set aside.
Place a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 20 minutes. Adjust heat so they don’t brown too quickly.
Place eggplant slices on prepared baking sheet. Brush both sides with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. 
Reduce heat to 350 degrees F.
Transfer onions to a large bowl. Remove sausage from casing and add to the same skillet. Stir in cloves, ginger, cardamom, mace, cinnamon, and coriander. Cook over medium heat, stirring and breaking into smaller pieces until cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the bowl with the onions.
Add tomatoes and oregano to onion mixture, stirring to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.
Cover the bottom of the prepared baking dish with half the eggplant. Spoon onion mixture on top. 
Cover with the remaining eggplant. Sprinkle with feta cheese and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.