It’s summertime, and my CSA box is starting to fill with eggplant. What do I do with it? I make baba ghanoush, the Middle Eastern eggplant dip.
*And then I make tian Provencal, once I get tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant at the same time. And…that’s the extent of my eggplant recipes. Any eggplant suggestions? Anyone? Bueller? Leave them in the comments, because even with the current drought, I’ll get pounds of mixed eggplant with my CSA box for the next month or two.
This recipe is remarkably close to hummus. All I do is replace chickpeas with fire-roasted eggplant. This isn’t a quick recipe – it takes at least a half an hour for the eggplant to completely cook – but it is low maintenance. Cook the eggplant until it the skin is completely burnt, and the eggplant collapses on itself. Turn it every now and again, when you feel like it – burning the skin only adds flavor. The eggplant should look like a deflated blimp right before you take it off the grill.
Recipe: Baba Ghanoush
Inspired by: Alton Brown, Baba Ghannouj
Cooking time: 40 minutes
- 1 large eggplant, poked a few times with a fork
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1. Grill the eggplant over high heat:
Set the grill up for high heat. Put the eggplant directly over the heat and grill, turning occasionally, until the eggplant deflates and the skin is entirely blackened, 30 to 40 minutes.
2. Puree the baba ghanoush:
Drop the garlic cloves in a running food processor, and let them process until completely minced. Add the parsley leaves and pulse the food processor until the parsley is minced. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel it and drop it in the food processor. Add the tahini, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper. Run the food processor until the ingredients are smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary, about 1 minute. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as necessary, pulsing the food processor to mix. Serve as a dip, with pita bread or a mix of vegetables.
- For most grilling recipes, I preheat the grill. Not this one; I put the eggplant on the grill the moment I start it. I’m not looking to sear the eggplant, just cook it through, so the sudden burst of heat isn’t necessary. That makes this an easy side dish – I turn the grill on a half an hour ahead of time, with the eggplant on the grate, then pull it off when the grill is preheated and it is time to cook my main course.
- No food processor? Um…well, I guess you could mince everything, then pound it together with a mortar and pestle….but that seems like an awful lot of work. And, I think it’s too thick for most blenders. If you’ve got a monster blender like a Vitamix, it will work, but other than that, you want a food processor.
- No grill? And you read my blog? Wow. Well, roast the eggplant in the stove at 400*F until it collapses, then continue with step 2.
- Can’t find tahini? Look in the international aisle of your local grocery store. Or, if you’re desperate, substitute another nut butter – almond or peanut butter. It changes the taste, but it will work.
What do you think? Questions? Any other eggplant suggestions? Please? Leave them in the comments section below.
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