Perhaps one of the most recognizable vegetables of all is the eggplant; large, round and bright purple. Gem-like. Shiny. Every time I see one, I want to hold it and cook it. What can I say, I’m a foodie.
-The eggplant is a member of the nightshade family and is closely related to the tomato and potato
-The popular name “eggplant” is used in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. It derives from the fruits of some 18th-century European cultivars which were yellow or white and resembled goose or hen’s eggs. (Wikipedia)
-The eggplant is popular in French (ratatouille), Indian, Turkish (moussaka), Middle Eastern (baba ghanoush) and Italian (parmigana) dishes
-Eggplant is in season from August to October
-Store in the fridge for up to a week or so uncut; once cut, use immediately
-USDA Nutrient Database for eggplant, cooked
-Eggplant is a good source of fiber
-Eggplant is excellent on the grill; slice thickly and drizzle with olive oil
-Roast with summer vegetables, sprinkle with fresh thyme
-Try it in Vegetarian Moussaka–I tried it tonight and thought it was great!
You wouldn’t think a ranch momma would know anything about MIddle Eastern cooking, but boy, does she! If you’re tired of the same-old hummus (store-bought or homemade), whip this easy dip up and use with pita chips or veggies. You won’t regret it, or her step-by-step-in-pictures directions.
3 whole Medium Eggplants
4 Tablespoons Tahini
4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (good Quality)
1/3 cup Fresh Parsley, Minced
1. IMPORTANT: Prick the surface of each eggplant several times with the tines of a fork.
2. On the grill or under the broiler (set to high) blacken/char the eggplant for 25 minutes or so. You want the skin to be completely shriveled and dark, and the eggplant almost fall-apart tender. Just when you think it’s shriveled, let it go another five minutes.
3. Set them aside to cool slightly.
4. When cool, peel off skin enough to get a spoon into each eggplant and scrape out the flesh into a bowl. Try to get as much as you can, even the stuff that’s stuck to the inside of the skin. (This process is a total mess, so don’t worry.)
5. Mash eggplant with a fork. A few large chunks are fine, but try to get it to a relatively smooth texture without being totally pureed.
6. Add in all other ingredients, stirring and tasting before adjusting seasonings or other ingredients. Don’t undersalt!
Serve with pita triangles, baguette slices, chips, crusty French bread…or with a spoon.
Holly R. Layer received a B. A. in Journalism from Penn State and served four years in the U. S. Air Force before deciding to go back to school to become a Registered Dietician. She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related. An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy. Too bad her husband, Andrew (an East Aurora native) is the pickiest man alive! You can find her at www.thefrozenpineapple.com.