Monday, September 3, 2012

Eggplant Two Ways: Roasted & Baba Ghanoush

Dinner: Roasted Eggplant and Tomato with Pesto
I had a problem the other night. I was home alone, and there were two huge eggplants (a globe and a rosa bianca) sitting in the fridge. No matter the preparation I chose, I knew there was no way I was going to be able to eat it all in one sitting. But I needed to cook them soon. And then, I had an idea! Why not roast some eggplant tonight (with some under-ripe tomatoes), and make baba ghanoush tomorrow? Brilliant! I love meals that meld into each other - another way to use leftovers! If you aren't thinking ahead that far, you can roast the eggplant the same day as making the baba ghanoush, but be sure to allow enough time to let it cool first.

Eggplant and tomato slices. Fresh and hot, right out of the oven!
Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes
2 Eggplants (any variety will work)
4-6 Tomatoes (under-ripe works great here!)
1t Salt (plus extra)
1/4t Black Pepper, freshly ground
2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced (I used a press)
8 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped (or 1t Dried Basil)

- Rinse the eggplant and pat dry, then slice into 1/4" rounds, put in a colander and sprinkle with coarse salt. This draws out the moisture, making them less bitter.
- Let eggplant sit for 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- When time has elapsed, remove slices and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Put slices (plus sliced tomatoes, if using) in a big bowl, and toss with salt, pepper, oil, garlic and basil.
- Lightly oil the baking sheet, and arrange slices in a single layer (use two baking sheets if you're overlapping).
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until slice turn a bit brown.
- Eat immediately, or let cool to make the baba ghanoush.

Baba Ghanoush (without tahini)
Leftover eggplant, about to be blended up!

The result: delicious Baba Ghanoush!
1.5 Pounds of Eggplant, weigh before cooking (how many this is depends on size)
3T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1T Fresh Lemon Juice

Note #1: Because I was using the seasoned roasted eggplant from the night before, I did not need to add seasoning. If you're using plain roasted eggplant, add 1t sea salt and 1 clove of pressed garlic to this recipe.
Note #2: Most recipes tell you to remove the skins of the eggplant, but I left them on the slices. Not sure how this would work in a regular blender (and I would not do it for bigger pieces) but in a Vita-Mix it turned out great.
- Add ingredients to blender or food processor, and pulse until combined to desired consistency.
- Serve either at room temp or chilled with your favorite dipping items: fresh veggies, whole wheat pita, etc. Or use as a spread on sandwiches.

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