Eggplant

When I see an eggplant, like a pavlovian response, I can immediately smell them roasting in my mom’s kitchen. I used to hate that smell. It was so powerful it took over the whole house. But as my taste buds expanded, and I started to LOVE eggplants, I’ve grown to love that smell in my own kitchen.

 

Eggplants were a staple in my childhood home. My husband’s too. In Israel, depending on what countries your grandparents were from, the eggplant dish had its own flavor. Mostly they were fried, also roasted. My mother-in-law makes them in tomato sauce. My grandmothers had their own twist. As Israel continues to develop its cuisine, the eggplant has evolved and continued to be a front runner in many dishes. (P.S. there is a GREAT documentary about Israeli cuisine on netflix called In Search of Israeli Cuisine).

 

A member of the nightshade group (like tomatoes, potatoes  and peppers), the eggplant is full of nutrition. Its combination of vitamins K and C, fiber and B6  make the eggplant a good source for preventing heart disease and blood clots. The antioxidants in eggplants helps your body lower bad cholesterol and fight cancer cells. But perhaps the most surprising (to me) was the combination of phenolic compounds, iron, magnesium and vitamin K in eggplants has been linked to improving bone density, and reducing signs of osteoporosis.

 

With so many varieties and sizes, today’s eggplants are less bitter, so the process of salting them before cooking them, is not required anymore. Over the years I’ve tried to redevelop and come to terms with the unfried eggplant (it was hard). But I’ve learned that there are so many other ways to enjoy this purple fruit (FRUIT! Did you know it was a fruit?- a berry actually). Still my favorite is the one that brings up that childhood smell in my kitchen. Recipe below.

 

 

 

Eggplant in the Oven

(THE recipe that brings back childhood memories)

Ingredients:

  1. 1-2 Eggplants
  2. 1 lemon
  3. 2-3 tablespoons homemade tahina (CLICK HERE for that recipe)
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
  5. 2-3 tablespoons of parsley  
  6. 2-3 tablespoons of garbanzo beans (OPTIONAL)

Steps:

  1. Turn oven to BROIL
  2. Wash your eggplant and poke a few holes in different parts of the eggplant with a knife
  3. Broil your eggplant for about 30 min (flipping it halfway through).
  4. Once nice and soft under the peel, remove your eggplant from the oven.
  5. Peel back the dark peel and scoop the meat on the inside onto a flat surface like a cutting board.
  6. Angle the cutting board down towards your sink by placing something small underneath one side so that some of the liquid comes out into your sink. (I usually like to leave it like that for a few minutes).
  7. Once ready, scoop the eggplant into a bowl or plate and break it apart a little with a fork.  
  8. Squeeze half a lemon (or whole if you used 2 eggplants)
  9. Season with some salt and pepper
  10. Drizzle a few tablespoons of tahina on top.
  11. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
  12.  Top with some garbanzo beans (optional)


So yum!
NOTE: you can also leave it in the peel once out of the oven, and just peel back the top layer… and go to step 7