We're in the final throws of our CSA deliveries and this means our fridge looks like a root cellar. Peering into the cold storage, we had some beets that I'd roasted but left adrift in the veggie drawer, an overflow of carrots, and miraculously two eggplants, each a week or more old, looking perky.
With that in mind, I thought this dinner might take root in the souk -- my favorite Moroccan carrot and beet salads, as well as the tabbouleh that pops up so frequently Chez Lemon.
The Baba Ganoush is hiding...can you find it?
And I broke out my version of baba ganoush. I love baba ganoush more than most and for years thought I was eating a healthy treat from my favorite falafel spot until I asked for the secret ingredient. What was it? Mayo. Yes, MAYO. Spoonfuls of mayo, I had been eating as my healthy afternoon snack and my "light" lunch option.
So, that said, I started making my own baba ganoush, and I didn't feel bad about subbing in ingredients. If mayonnaise could make it's way into a real falafel joint, then my consistent lack of tahini was not an impediment. Here's what I use instead: toasted sesame oil. It lasts a while in the pantry, I use it in Asian dishes and it gives a lot of sesame flavor with just a sprinkle or two. I also use it in my hummus. That's my secret ingredient.
1 medium eggplant, 2 Japanese eggplants, split in half
1 clove garlic
1/2 lemon's juice
4-5 sprinkles of toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Turn the oven up high -- 420F. On a lined baking sheet (tin foil works fine, parchment is nicer), place the split eggplants cut side down. If using tin foil, drizzle a little olive oil on the foil so it doesn't stick to the eggplant. With a paring knife, make a few shallow slits on the skin to release steam. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the skin starts to look really wrinkled. The time depends on the size of your eggplants. Remove and set aside to cool.
Once cooled, scrape out the eggplant flesh away from the skin. It should be tan colored and very soft. Discard the skin. If there are still larger pieces, run a knife through the eggplant. Usually it is pretty goo-ey by this point.
Mix in the minced or grated garlic, lemon juice, cumin, sesame oil and yogurt.