I love eggplant and everything that is made from that gorgeous purple vegetable. When I was little my mom made an eggplant caviar, a vegetable spread that exists in various shapes and under a multitude of names all over Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. My brother and I ate it piled on good crusty bread all summer long. Now looking back I marvel at how effortlessly healthy our diet was. Chips didn’t exist in the 80s Russia. However, my favourite way of eating eggplant was something less healthy but, undoubtedly, delicious. I still remember sitting in the kitchen on warm summer evenings while my mom would fry countless eggplant rounds and stack up them up intermittently with thick fried tomato slices slathered in garlic and mayonnaise, the real deal, not Hellmann’s. The eggplants and tomatoes would give out juices that upon sitting would mingle with oil, garlic and mayonnaise and create the most delicious dressing with no effort from the cook whatsoever. Rustic cooking at its best.
I feel like eggplant doesn’t enjoy the popularity it has in other parts of the world and one of my life’s goals is to turn as many people on eggplant as I can. I’ve been pretty successful so far and I have no plans of stopping now.
Baba Ghanoush is not something I ate growing up but I’ve embraced it fully since I discovered it. Apart from it’s awesome name, Baba Ghanoush has several excellent qualities. It’s a dip. It’s got roasted over open fire eggplant, which gives it the smoky flavour. It’s healthy. IT’S A DIP. Need I say more? Alright, I’ve also added sumac to a fairly basic recipe.
Sumac is a tangy, lemony spice often used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. It’s delicious in salads or when used as a seasoning for grilled meat and fish. It’s also delicious sprinkled over baba ghanoush or hummus. I’ve tried it once for this salad and was hooked ever since.
This Baba Ghanoush is delicious with anything dunkable you can think of. We love eating it with warm pita bread, tortilla chips, crackers or fresh veggies. It’s also an incredible filling for wraps when combined with rotisserie chicken and vegetables of your choice.
- 2- eggplants
- 2 cloves-garlic
- ½- lemon, juice of
- 2 tbsp- tahini
- 2 tbsp- olive oil
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp- sumac, divided
- chives for garnish (optional)
- Broil eggplants until the skins are charred, about 5-7 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 200C/400F and roast eggplants turning them every 15 minutes, until flesh is completely tender, about 1 hour. Let cool. (Alternatively you can grill eggplants to achieve the same smoky effect.)
- Peel the eggplants and put the flesh in the food processor together with garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, salt and half of sumac.
- Pulse until smooth, taste and add more salt if needed.
- Serve sprinkled with more olive oil and sumac.