My little heart skipped a beat the other day when I saw shiny firm glorious eggplants (or aubergine if you are posher than me, which is entirely likely...) at the food market on a 2 for $5 deal. Maybe this means I need to get out more, or am simply very easily pleased , or both, but I fairly skipped up to the counter.
I adore eggplant, and we eat plenty all spring and summer. The texture is great, be it grilled until tender on the BBQ or grill, fried with loads of garlic and tomato, or as in the following recipe, a delish smokey dip. Whatever you do with eggplant, give it plenty of seasoning, and do cook it well, a half cooked eggplant is grim indeed, it needs to be soft and melting........
The following dip is a simplified version of an Ottolenghi recipe (yes, again!) , from Plenty. It is easy, tasty, and has already become a fav in our house, try it.
Please don't let the Pomegranate Molasses put you off, I found this at my local supermarket, but any specialist food shop or Middle Eastern shop should carry it. I FINISHED my last bottle, it didn't just sit there until I threw it out......... It is fab in dressings, and I have a glorious red pepper and walnut dip it really peps up, I will post the recipe as spoon as I dig it out of my overflowing recipe box....if you cant find it, I would try some tamarind paste/water which is available at any Indian store....
Eggplant Dip (based on Burnt Aubergine with Tahini recipe from Plenty)
2 tbsp of tahini paste
1/4 cup of cold water
1-2 tsp pomegranate molasses
Squeeze of lemon or lime juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp chopped parsley (coriander is also great, and mint)
Prick your eggplant a couple of times with a knife, and place on a baking tray lined with foil or baking paper (if you are using foil make sure the shiny side is up so it reflects the heat). Place under a hot grill for 45 minutes or so until the skin is black, and the eggplant is collapsing. This sounds nuts, but you are not eating the skin, and this burn imparts a lovely smokey flavour to your dip. Trust me.
We have had this a couple of times recently, once as a yummy creamy topping for lamb pita pizza's....
and once as a delish side for some lamb kibbe patties I made, experimenting with bulgur wheat. I have not perfected this recipe yet, but when I do I will post it toot sweet........
On another note entirely, can I offer you a friendly piece of advice? If you are tired, and cooking Mac n Cheese, because you require comfort food, and a recipe you can make without actually engaging your brain, BE AWARE! Testing your little pasta shapes for al denteness can result in a hidden pocket of boiling water bursting out and dribbling down your lip and onto your chin..........this can then result in much swearing, burning, tears before bedtime and general unhappiness. And some clown at work asking if you have a cold sore. No, I have a severe pasta burn............and it isn't funny pal.
Lets be careful out there.