Tuesday, October 27, 2009
You could call this eggplant salad or eggplant dip or even spread, depending on where you live and what you have been accustomed with, but no matter the name you use, you should know that it is a very delicious food.
Like with so many other foods, there are countless ways of cooking the eggplants, again depending on where you live and what you saw done before - if you have a gas stove with actual flame, you could bake the eggplants on top of the fire, or you could simply choose the oven over anything. And better yet, you could grill the whole eggplant and scoop it and use the inside for the dip.
I will show and tell you how I did it this time, and add a few variations along the way to tell you how other people do it and how my mom does it.
Let's cook !
3 medium size eggplants, fresh,plump, firm, healthy, no spots on them
1/2 of a small onion
4 to 8 TBSP oil (use olive oil if you have)
tahini paste 2 to 4 TBSP (I made my own)
2 small tomatoes
2 to 4 TBSP homemade mayonnaise (optional)
Preheat the oven to 450 F and bring a roasting pan close to your work surface.
Wash, pat dry and prick the eggplants with a fork, then lay them in the pan and set in the oven, top shelf. If not pricked, they may explode as the pressure and steam build up inside.
They should be baked for about 40 minutes.
Or you could just choose the stove top option and just lay them on top of the flames letting them cook for approx 2 minutes until the outer layer of skin turns to ash, black in color.
If your eggplants are fresh and healthy, this stove top option will yield a whiter and brighter eggplant flesh, which I prefer, but could not fix them like that as my stove here is electric.
But then you could also grill them, wrapped in foil over hot flame for 25 minutes.
When the baking time is over, remove from the heat and let rest on a baking sheet or pan for 5 minutes so you do not burn yourself when picking them up.
You need to have a colander close and a trash bag even closer, because you will need to hold them by the stem and with a sharp knife, peel the outer layer of skin dumping it directly in the trash bag. The top 2 inches of the eggplant, next to the stem should also be discarded(the portion without any seeds).
Once the eggplant is clean, place it in the colander and make a few cuts so you have smaller pieces. Proceed with the rest of the eggplants.
I have not seem people to drain the juices, but my mother always did it because she said that the juices are bitter and if not drained, they will not only tint the final product, but also give it a bitter taste.
So drain the juices for at least 30 minutes.
** Of course, if you do not feel comfortable with this, you could just scoop the contents and place them in the colander to drain. That works fine too.
While the eggplant is draining, cut a small onion in half and grate it using the fine grater side, just as you would for nutmeg.
When done, transfer the grated onion to a piece of cheesecloth or a small piece of cloth and twist so you can squeeze out all the juices.
Discard the onion juices and use what is left to add to the dip later on.
If you want to use tahini paste and you do not have any, I will tell you how to make raw tahini paste.
Place 1 cup of sesame seeds with a pinch of salt and 5 TBSP oil in your food processor and process it until a nice smooth paste forms, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides. You should have it in under 1 minute.
Use s much as you want for the eggplant dip, and save the rest for later use in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid, in the fridge.
Now that you have all these ready, let's get to the assembly part.
In the food processor place as follows: eggplants, tahini paste, oil, salt, pepper and onion.
Process for a few seconds until a smooth blend forms and you are done !
***If using the mayonnaise too, the recipe is below.
Now spread some on a piece of toast and top with freshly cut tomato slices.
*** If you want to use mayonnaise, I would say to use the homemade version.
For that you need:
1 hard boiled egg
1 raw egg (boil the 2nd one as well if you are afraid to eat raw eggs)
1/4 to 1/2 cup oil
Boil the egg(s) to a hard boil stage and place the yolk(s) in a medium size bowl.
If using a raw egg, then separate the yolk from the egg white, and add it to the bowl.
Squeeze some lemon juice over and using a mixer, start mixing them, add the oil a little at a time, in a continuous stream, with the mixer running.
Add some more lemon juice and mix.
Taste it and adjust to whatever your particular taste may be.
Refrigerate the rest that is not used for the eggplant dip.
Posted by Cat at 8:19 AM