Last weekend a cooking frenzy took over me. I had been so busy week after week, I woke up on Sunday anticipating another busy week that was about to start. I opened my fridge and I started to panic thinking that all of my fresh summer vegetables were going to rot before I could get to use them. I don’t really know how to explain the feeling, but the closest thing I can think of is asphyxiated. Ok, I am exaggerating, but you get the point. I couldn’t let that happen! I started to plan every week day meal depending on our busy schedule, and I set myself to prepare them all ahead that day. Welcome to my craziness!!! 🙂
This eggplant recipe, which is a classic Middle Eastern dip called Baba Ghanoush, is easy to make and I knew it would keep well in the fridge for a later day that week. I love eggplant and how versatile it is. Underneath that beautiful purple shiny skin there is a tender inner side that not only feels and looks like a sponge, it also absorbs other flavors like one. Even though this dip is typically served as an appetizer I served it as a side dish with flank steak and it was perfect. The smokey flavor comes from roasting the eggplant on a fire grill and a dab of smoked paprika on top.
Well, my kitchen was messy that afternoon, but the week went by pretty smoothly. Coming home and having to spend only 15 minutes to put dinner on the table was totally worth the effort. I wish I could have the time to do that more often. Ahhh the dreams of a working mother… In the meantime, let’s enjoy a glass wine while munching on this tasty dip. Enjoy!
1 large eggplant
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon tahini paste (see cook’s notes)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Cook’s Note: Tahini is a sesame seed paste. It can be found in a specialty store or the international aisle of your regular store, think Middle Eastern cuisine. You could also substitute with 2 teaspoons peanut butter + 1 teaspoon sesame oil, mix well before adding to the recipe. The flavor profile will change but it will still be delicious!
Place the eggplant over a medium high fire grill. Rotate a couple of times making sure all sides are getting charred. Roast until blackened and softened. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool. The eggplant will sweat and will be easier to peel. When cooled completely, peel off the skin, keeping all the smoky juices. In a blender or food processor add peeled eggplant with all the juices from the bowl. Add garlic clove, parsley, tahini paste or substitute, olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until well blended, taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a plate, sprinkle with paprika and serve with pita bread or chips as an appetizer, or serve as a side dish to your main course.
This recipe can me made one day ahead, keep refrigerated in an air tight container, warm slightly before serving. Enjoy!