Guest Author - Jason Hodge
Where there are eggplants... local baba ghanoush recipes are sure to follow. Eggplants can be sourced the world over. There are large and small, sweet and bitter, red, green, purple, black, white, speckled, striped, heavy and light; they literally come in all shapes and sizes. They are spongy in consistency, in their raw form, but quickly convert into a smooth, semi-translucent, amber-like color after being roasted or sauteed. I love them and believe after you taste this recipe you will too.
5 medium sized eggplants [roasted over an open flame, charred, sweated and peeled]
1 large brown onion [chopped]
Sea salt [to taste]
1 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp dill seed
1/ 2 tsp ground chipotle
2 cloves garlic [chopped]
3 tbsp tahini [sesame seed butter]
1/2 lemon juice [medium sized]
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Fresh herbs, olives and grape tomatoes for garnish [chives, mint, basil, dill weed, cilantro, etc.]
Flatbread, chips, salad leaves, vegetable spears, etc.
Stove, grill, broiler, blow torch, open flame
Tongs, skewers, roasting rack
Aluminum foil [if you're looking for easy clean up]
Covered mixing bowl
Potato masher, food processor, blender, hand grinder, fork
Step 1. Clean and roast your eggplants and set aside in covered mixing bowl.
Step 2. Saute your onions with the cumin, dill seed and chipotle until onions are soft and aromatic; add minced garlic and heat through to tame the garlic flavors and aroma.
Step 3. Peel charred skin from eggplant, remove stem portion and add to your skillet with onions. Mash together.
Step 4. Squeeze lemon juice over eggplant and mix. Turn fire off and incorporate tahini.
Step 5. Plate and garnish with herbs, olives, tomatoes and a drizzle of oil over the top. Eat with your selection of flatbread, crackers, vegetable spears... whatever suits your fancy.
This, I always find to be a great way to take the edge off on one of those hungry days when you don't have a lot of time but you want something simple and tasty, that's packed full of nutrients. What I love about this is that it can either be eaten as an appetizer or used as a base to build out a truly gourmet meal.
Try, for example, taking this base of baba ghanoush and reworking it into a meaty stuffing. Try thinning it out to make a nice base for a soup or using it as is for a great beginning of a stew or braised entre. You can roast down some tomatoes and peppers, add some smoky vegetarian sausage to it, lightly blend and serve it as a meaty dip.
The list can go as far as your imagination will allow; just remember to have a lot of fun with it and make it beautiful.
As always, it's been my pleasure to share with you these vegetarian recipes. Until next time...