Growing up in her family’s Greek restaurant Uncle Nick’s, paved the way of her dream to be a chef. Sophia Manatakis Graduated from the French Culinary Institute in 2012.Taking the opportunity to be a sous chef in the Mentor Young Chef competition ignited her self confidence to start cooking on her own. Sophia realized making short term career goals in the cooking world was the key to being happy. Along the way, she finally started her own cooking company which provides meals for people trying to meet fitness goals. Sophia appeared on Food Networks chopped in 2017. Since being on chopped, doors have opened and Sophia is getting noticed in the culinary world. The Orthodox Christian Network recognized her with the 30 Under 30 entrepreneurship award for Culinary Arts at 24 years old. Today, you can still find Sophia going after each dream. In fact, the most recent accomplishment was a grant, given by the Mentor BKB company, where she chose to further her education in Italy.
- 2 – 3 eggplants (depending on the type) about 500 grams (1.1 lb)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 sprigs Green onion
- Small red pepper or roasted red pepper
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 or more cloves minced/crushed garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- Freshly grated black pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp paprika
- A pinch of harissa or chili powder (optional)
- Parsley dill and olive to decorate
Prepare the grill for direct heat: a medium-hot fire. If using charcoal, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the grate for 4 to 6 seconds. For a gas grill, preheat for 10 minutes to 450 degrees (medium-high). Or, for cooking indoors, turn the oven to broil and set the rack position so the eggplant on a baking sheet will be just a few inches from the flame or element.
Pierce the eggplants all over with a sharp paring knife. Rub the eggplants and pepper with the canola oil, and place them directly on the grill or on a rimmed baking sheet under the broiler. Cook the pepper, turning every few minutes, until the skin is lightly blistered all over, 10 to 15 minutes total. Transfer the pepper from the oven to a bowl and cover with a plate to let it steam. Continue cooking the eggplants, turning as needed, until they have thoroughly blackened and burned to an ashen crisp on each side and completely collapsed, up to 1 hour total. Remove from the grill or oven and let cool.
When the pepper has cooled enough to handle, rub off the skin; discard the ribs, stem and seeds. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch dice. When the eggplants have cooled enough to handle, cut a slit down the side of each and scrape out the flesh.
Combine the eggplant and pepper in a blender along with all the other ingredients mix until thoroughly incorporated. Taste, and add more vinegar, salt and smoked paprika as needed. Scrape into a serving bowl and garnish.
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