Eggplant: Going Beyond Parmesan
Do you ever wonder what to do with those smooth skinned, moody purple, mysterious globes you’re starting to find in your CSA farm share? Eggplant can be one of those vegetables that stumps us in the kitchen.
It’s skin is tough and gleaming on the outside and on the inside, it’s a spongy texture, almost like dry zucchini or tomatillo. Eggplant is a great flavor absorber and can be used much like a summer squash in dishes. You can find great recipes for ratatouille, Italian dishes, Indian dishes, and paella that include eggplant.
One of my favorite ways to use this vegetable is to make a simple dip. Baba ganoush is a staple in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s much like hummus but creamier and, in my opinion, deserves just as much hype as hummus has been getting. You’ll rarely find it in a store, so making it at home is a great option. Baba ganoush requires just a few ingredients that are staples in most of our kitchens. Tahini (sesame seed paste), something acidic like lemon or vinegar, garlic, and salt.
I’m rarely, if ever, one to follow a recipe. I substitute ingredients willy nilly and am very much a wing-it kind of cook. When asked to share a recipe for my baba ganoush, all I had in mind was an ingredient list. In hopes of sharing something more approachable and challenging myself to follow instructions, I decided to try a recipe from David Lebovitz and to share it with you if I liked it.
It turned out to be one of the better batches I’ve made, and I only changed one little thing. You can find the original recipe here.
3 Medium Eggplants
½ C Tahini
3 Tbs. Lemon Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar (I used ACV instead of lemon juice in my batch)
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
3 Cloves Minced Garlic
1¼ tsp. Coarse Salt
⅛ tsp. Chili Powder
⅛ tsp. of Cumin (optional)
Begin by charring eggplants on your gas range or cutting, then broiling them in the oven. When eggplants are charred, flip and drizzle with olive oil, bake at 375 °F until they offer no resistance when poked with a fork.
Next, scrape the eggplant flesh from the skins with a spoon. I generally include the skins if I simply roast them but excluded most of the charred skin for this recipe. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until everything is well blended and the texture is creamy. Adjust salt, spices and acidity to taste.
I topped mine with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped fresh parsley and spicy chili flakes. Get creative with your baba ganoush and make your own recipe. Play around with spices, roast your garlic before adding it, top with caramelized onions, try different vinegars, add peppers. You really can dress it up however you like. Enjoy with baguette, pita bread, crackers or chips or for something more fresh, try dipping cucumbers, carrots, peppers or peas.