I was cruising through the market the other day, and the most gorgeous pile of aubergines(eggplants) caught my eye! They are so beautiful , possessing luxurious shiny skins of the deepest violet, and when you slice them, you're rewarded with a flash of green and a flesh that's creamy and subtle. I bought one(after having a marvelous time fondling several of them !) and took it home thinking that I would make a simple baba ghanoush, that traditional eggplant dip from the middle east.
Well, one thing led to another, and I got a little creative. The first and most important thing about eggplant is that it really needs to be prepared well before you can even consider turning it into anything edible. The eggplant is part of the nightshade family, the same as "Deadly nightshade". This means that it has certain compounds in its skin and flesh that aren't so good for you, and most cooks don't take the time to leech them out of the eggplant. It's also one of the reasons why lots of people have adverse responses when they eat it, such as a burning mouth, and a bitter sensation resulting in a general feeling of unwellness. Preparing the eggplant is a simple process, and I promise that if you take the time you will be rewarded with a luscious end result!
The first thing that I do, is I slice and rinse the eggplant and then lay it into a covered casserole or a non reactive bowl. Then I pour kosher salt, or sea salt all over it and add water to cover. I let it sit for about and hour, and change the water and do it again. I repeat this process about 3 and sometimes four times. Then, I rinse the eggplant slices. They're ready for breading or roasting, whatever you want to do with it.
What I did today was take the eggplant slices and lay them on a roasting pan that I sprayed with an organic non stick olive oil spray. I coated them after that with garlic infused olive oil. Stick them in a 350 degree oven and roast until soft and golden on each side , but very pulpy inside!
What you'll need for this ambrosial dip is,
One cup of roasted pistachios
4 cloves of raw garlic
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1 tablespoon of cumin seed
1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of walnut oil
Take the roasted eggplant and put it into the bowl of your cuisinart, along with the rest of the ingredients. I'd start with half the walnut oil and then add more depending on the consistency. Now let the cuisinart perform it's magic! What you'll have in a few minutes is sensuous feast, that you can use to entice your lover with, a marvelous dip for shrimp and spears of endive, as well as fingers! All of this spice needs a soft red wine to compliment it, and perhaps a few ripe figs and a little goat cheese drizzled with honey.
Enjoy! If you'd like to serve this as a prelude to an entree, why don't you also try my recipe for chicken roasted with artichokes and garlic (midwinter recipes)!