This is an inevitable post. Inevitable since just in the previous I presented the sibling dish of this one, the hummus. This one is all about eggplant. The one plant that has become a stable food around Mediterranean and primarily in the middle-eastern countries. Most of these countries rely heavily on vegetables as power source. Eggplant is not one of them. It is a plant, but not a power source. With a mere 25 kcal per 100 g of the fruit, eggplant is food with low energy value. It does have some other minerals and vitamins, but again they are not even enough to make eggplant a “super-food”. Then why do we eat it? Why is it so valuable in Middle East, India etc?
Cause is freaking awesome! It is a delicious food. Every country around Mediterranean has a stable dish with eggplant: Greece – Moussaka, Turkey – Imam Bayildi, Italy – Eggplant Parmesan, just to mention a few. It is an awesome vegetable. It has a basic, very light, almost neutral flavor that is a canvas that allows you to draw the flavor profiles you want. For example think of all the dishes mentioned above; they all have radically different flavors from one another. I have covered the history of eggplant before so I will note bore you with any fun facts about it. Just one: Did you know that the original eggplant was white and small, in the size of an egg? You would probably knew if you had read the previous post, but you should also know that is the reason for the name of this awesome vegetable.
Today we are making a dish that is as eggplanty as it can be. There is nothing in the way of the eggplant taste other than the eggplant itself. This dish is common in Greece, Turkey Egypt, Syria and all the neighboring countries. The process is very similar with the one described in the previous post. It is essentially the substitution of chickpeas with eggplant. That’s all there is to it. And it is an inevitable recipe that was waiting to happen. One day someone just run out of chickpeas. He/she tried to use, carrots, potatoes, zucchini but nothing worked. And one day they tried eggplant. And there! Success. And I am sure that the is what happened!!! As we said hummus could be a very nutritious dish. So it kinda makes sense to start with a nutritious dish and substitute one ingredient. So you can see that there is a reasoning to it. But we will not spend time here to investigate if the chick(pea) laid the egg(plant) or the egg(plant) the chick(pea). We need to cook and this is what we will do.
For this we will need:
- 2 large eggplants (1 lbs each)
- 4 tbsp of tahini – or more
- 2 tbsp olive oil – or more, why not
- The juice of 1 lemon/lime
- 1 clove of garlic
- Bread (optional)
- Salt and pepper
Here, these are our beauties.
Start by flaming them. If you don’t have any gas stove top, just use the broiler of your oven. Flame them until they blister.
They blister with brown spots and slight discoloration. They are still firm just a bit more discolored. Put them on a baking sheet and stick them in a 400 F degree oven until they are done.
How you know they are done? Not visually apparently. They kinda looked the same as before.
You will employ what is called the pinching method. Pinch them with your tongs…
If they remain pinched they are done.
Slowly peel back the skin.
Remove the flesh and place it in a strainer. Let it drain for 30-60 mins. The more you do it now the better it will taste later.
Get your awesome food processor.
Add the eggplant.
Add all the tahini you want.
Salt and pepper.
The juice of 1 lemon or lime.
Lid up and…
And let it blend, let it blend…
Add the garlic in small pieces. On the contrary with the hummus, in Baba Ganoush the rougher garlic adds an element of surprise so I prefer it. If you want a more unified and uniform flavor profile just use a microplane grater.
Att the end add the parsley, a big handful.
And mix it more. At this point taste. If the consistency is a bit loose add a couple of pieces of bread and mix again. Add the bread gradually. You don’t want to dilute the taste too much or make it super thick. In this case I added two slices of whole wheat bread.
Serving suggestions? As simple as it gets. On a plate with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh ground pepper and salt. Also keep it mind that it can be an awesome pasta sauce. Yep! Pasta sauce!