When I see eggplant on a menu, I must order it. Baked, grilled, or breaded, I will take it any which way.
At home, one of my favorite things to do with eggplant is make Baba Ganoush. It makes a great appetizer for a dinner party, and you can make it ahead of time and keep it around for a snack -- the longer it sits, the better it gets. Give me a bowl of that smoky eggplant spread and some toasted pita chips and I am a happy girl.
Baba ganoush is incredibly easy to make: there are only a few ingredients, and you likely already have them on hand. Each time you make this, your eggplants will yield slightly different amounts, so the measurements listed are more of a guideline than a rule. Free to experiment! I love to add a variety of toppings like toasted pine nuts, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes.
5 medium sized eggplants (I used graffiti eggplant) 2 tablespoons lemon juice + the zest of 1/2 of a lemon 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon tahini 1 garlic clove, minced 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped 5 leaves of basil, chopped Salt and pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted (optional) A pinch of toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Place the wire rack in your over close to the boiler, and pre-heat the broiler on its highest setting. Score the eggplants all around and then place them on a baking sheet directly under the broiler. Broil the eggplants for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning over halfway through. You want them to be totally charred on the outside, and soft on the inside. When they are done, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.
Once the eggplants have cooled, open them up and scoop out the insides into a colander using a spoon. Allow some of the water to drain and then transfer to a bowl. Mix together with the lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, garlic, salt, and pepper (or combine in a food processor), and adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish with herbs and toasted pine nuts or sesame seeds. Be sure to serve it next to some toasted pita, crackers, or crudités.
Jodi Moreno is a Natural Foods Chef, Photographer, and creator of the blog What’s Cooking Good Looking where she shares her healthy, clean, seasonal recipes and photographs. She’s passionate about showing people that vegetables can play a main role on the plate.