When life gives you eggplant… make Baba Ghanoush!
I did grow (one) of my own, and that was great, but it was only one. Saturday I went to the Farmer’s Market, and one vendor was having a fire sale (er, pardon, frost sale) on peppers and Asian eggplant. Unfortunately I only had so much cash burning a hole in my pocket, so I didn’t get the optimal amount of these things, but I think I did pretty well. Price: $1.00 for a pound, $0.75 for two pounds or more. This was two pounds or more, and a couple of peppers are missing from the pic because they ended up in another dish before I thought to shoot this.
So, taking the two ball eggplants and the one large elongated one:
Eggplant – this quantity used was certainly a little over the size of one regular supermarket one.
Garlic – 2 large cloves, but adapt to taste.
Tahini – a very generous 1/4 cup.
Lemon juice – Start at 1/8 cup and taste-test up. I ended up with over 1/4 cup but then again my tastebuds lean towards sour.
Oil for coating pan, either EVOO or sesame.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
Slice eggplant into half, cutting off ends, stems and bad bits. Place on oiled baking pan. (If you are using a heavy duty supermarket one, you may want to soak it in a little salt water and lemon juice to draw off bitterness, after some initial cutting so that the salt can do its sork. Soak for an hour, drain and dry before proceeding with roasting…)
Roast, covered, with a little oil (extra virgin olive oil, or sesame oil) for about 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool so you can handle it. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh out from the skin. (For small Asian eggplants, you can leave the skin on, but it may be harder to mix, judgement call up to you.)
Combine eggplant flesh with all the rest of the ingredients, and mix. You may need to use a food processor or a simple Smart Stick. You can mix until total smoothness, or like me, you can mix to a still-granular, but combined, texture. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. If your tahini is very dry (mine came from a Lebanese source, and thus was not), you can add some extra olive or sesame oil (even toasted) if desired.
You can let it sit for a while to develop flavor. This will also freeze, if needed. (You can also freeze straight-up eggplants, or so I was informed by the vendor, by blanching, then freezing.) When serving, strips of cucumber, bell pepper, or celery could be good ideas. I prefer just a spoon when it is just for me…
Garnish with cilantro or parsley, if desired. Parsley would be more traditional to the region.
PS, this star veggie is also known as aubergine, in the British Isles.