I’ve had a few friends recently mention that they don’t know what to do with this purple beauty, more specifically, when to pick it and how to eat it.
The eggplant is in actuality a fruit, although nearly everyone cooks it as though it’s a vegetable. It is native to China and South Asia and India, who currently produce 83% of the world’s eggplants.
Beans and Peppers are good companion plants for the eggplant and are best harvested when they is young, or when the outer skin is shiny.
And just because this is the season of babies, Eggplant Parmesan allegedly induces labor! (Whether it is the eggplant or another ingredient in the dish is unknown.) But hey, it’s worth a try!
If you don’t naturally love eggplant, you will love this recipe. It’s sort of like V8 hiding vegetables in fruit juices, or all you moms and dads hiding roasted red pepper in your Mac n cheese. If you don’t tell, your guests would never guess!
The name itself is actually the most fun part of the recipe, Babaganoush. It is held aside hummus for its ingredients although the difference being chickpeas vs eggplant. This Lebanese dip is perfect for these fall days and an absolutely delicious way to sneak in some “foreign” veggies for the unadventurous eaters out there.
Babaganoush (Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip)
• 3 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds)
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/8 teaspoon finely grated garlic
• 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
• 1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
• 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut eggplants in half and make criss-cross cuts on the flesh of the eggplant. Sprinkle with salt quite generously and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse off salt. Place flesh down on baking trays and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until the flesh is very tender. Let cool and once cool flesh out the eggplants and place in a food processor.
Place all of the ingredients, except the salt and pepper, in the food processor and blend until smooth. Once smooth season with salt and pepper to your liking.
Serve with freshly cut vegetables as a healthy alternative to dip; serve with pita, naan. It is also great as a spread on wraps, pitas, etc…
It’s one of my favorite dips! Be bold! And let me know what you think.