This smoky dish of roasted eggplant, pureed with tahini, garlic and lemon is one of my favorite dishes. It’s good with/on most anything. And if you have a decent broiler you can have this on the table in about 30 minutes. If your broiler is no good you can just roast them at high heat. You can alternatively cook the eggplants on the barbecue and get a nice smoky flavor.
You can also use summer squash in stead of or in combination with eggplant for a delicious variation, using the exact same process though you can of course skip the peeling part.
Yields about 2 1/2 cups
2 medium globe eggplants or 4-5 longer skinny Japanese ones (or the equivalent amount of summer squash–see headnote)
1/3 cup tahini
2-3 clove garlic, minced and mashed with side of chef’s knife or pressed (start with two cloves and add more if needed–I like the sweetness of the eggplant not to be overshadowed by garlic)
Juice of 1 lemon (more to taste)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil and chopped cilantro, parsley and/or mint for garnish (optional)
1. Set your oven to broil or your oven to 450 degrees.
2. Prick the eggplants all around with a skewer or a small tined fork (so it doesn’t explode in the oven) and put them on a baking sheet. Place them about 6-8 inches beneath the broiler element or roast on a middle rack. If broiling, broil for about 20 minutes, turning the eggplant every five minutes or so to ensure evening blackening. If roasting it will take more like 30 minutes. Remove when the eggplant is tender and easily pierced with the tip of a knife and the juices are flowing out a bit. Cut eggplants in half to speed cooling. Peel when cool enough to handle.
3. If you have a food processor, put eggplant in processor bowl. Add mashed garlic, tahini, lemon juice and a few pinches of salt and a bit of black pepper. Process until smooth-ish–I like a little bit of texture. Taste and seasons to taste. Serve garnished with a little olive oil and some fresh herbs if you’d like.
4. Serve at room temperature. Store in refrigerator for up to five days.