I spent a bit of time this afternoon in a valiant attempt to photograph some eggplants. I don’t have a lot of time to do my photography. I try to slot it in during TV watching time but the average length of an ABC for Kids show is about 10 minutes – unless its Play School, then I get close to half an hour.
Eggplants are really hard to photograph I’ve discovered. Their reflective skins seem to play havoc with the camera and although my camera is a digital SLR, the lens is pre digital and doesn’t communicate well enough with the body for me to adjust any of the settings. This means I have to rely on what the camera comes up with and with eggplant it doesn’t seem to come up with anything very spectacular. I tried a number of different options to help it along (Play school was on at photography time today). Shade, sun, on a colourful tray, against a pale background. Not sure which worked best but I know I wont be trying the in the sun concept again….
Anyway I was really keen to photograph the eggplants as I have completely failed to photograph tonight’s dish.
I’ve harvested about 2kg of eggplant in the past week or so. Not a ridiculous amount by any means, but enough that I have had to put some thought into what I’m going to make with it. I’ve made a couple of eggplant curries, some involtini and my old favourite standby dip – baba ganoush. It is this last one that I am going to share with you today.
The name Baba ganoush is a transliteration of the Arabic name for what essentially an eggplant puree. Baba ganoush is eaten throughout the Middle East, although there are regional variations in the recipe. There are also very similar dishes in Turkey and parts of Eastern Europe. What all have in common is that the eggplant is pureed (usually after roasting and blackening) and combined with garlic, an acid – usually lemon juice but I have seen recipes with vinegar in them, and salt. Other common flavourings are: tahini, chilli, parsley, and cumin.
- 1 large eggplant (mine are Bonica)
- 1 tsp tahini (or to taste)
- 1 clove of garlic – crushed
- 1 tbspn extra virgin olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- pinch salt
Keeping the eggplant whole roast it over a flame so that the skin blackens*. Leave to cool a bit then remove the skin. Place the eggplant and all the other ingredients in a food processor. Whizz. Taste and adjust seasoning, lemon juice and tahini if necessary. Allow to cool completely. Serve. I like it with a bit of finely chopped parsley and eat it with bread – ideally Turkish.
*There are a number of ways to do the roasting:
I often put it in the oven to cook, then put it on the BBQ grill to blacken. Alternatively you could do it all on the BBQ. If you have a gas cooker and some tongs you can hold it over the gas ring, turning periodically, until cooked – about 20 mins or so. Or most excitingly (I’m presuming); if you have a blow torch like L then you could always use it.
To see what others are cooking up this week head on over to the Gardener of Eden’s place.