Easy, Serves 4, Prep time: 25 mins.
This appetizer of Levantine origin is simple enough to make, and along with its chickpea-based cousin hummus, serves as one of the fundamental constituents of the traditional mezze. Here’s how we make ours:
- Eggplant, large, 1 no.
- Tahini**, 3 tbsp
- Garlic, 4 cloves
- Lemon, medium, 1 no.
- Ground Cumin, 1 tsp
- Salt, 1 tsp
- Extra virgin olive oil*, 75 ml
* If you don’t have extra virgin olive oil, any neutral vegetable oil will do.
** If you haven’t got any lying around, check out my hummus recipe for a basic idea of how to make tahini.
- Wash your eggplant and pat dry. Using a fork, poke holes all over the eggplant to prevent it from exploding (yes, really) while roasting. Coat your eggplant with a thin layer of oil and keep aside.
2. Heat a skillet over a medium flame. Once heated, place the eggplant on it. Let it roast on one side completely for 3 minutes before turning it to the other sides with the help of its stalk. Roast all the sides completely and don’t miss the base*. Remember, a perfectly roasted eggplant has crispy skin and will collapse on itself as the flesh softens.
*You want to roast the base for an additional 2 minutes as the majority of the flesh is concentrated there.
3. Once completely roasted, take your pan off the heat and let the eggplant cool down. Dip your fingers in water and begin peeling off the skin of the eggplant to reveal its caramelized flesh. Cut off the stalk and get rid of every last bit of its skin.
4. This is the easiest part of the recipe – simply blending everything together. In a mixer jar, grind the eggplant flesh, tahini, garlic cloves, ground cumin, salt and the juice of a lemon. You want to pause every 10 seconds and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to form a creamy puree. Continue blitzing and pausing till you have used up all the oil.
Garnish with a generous drizzle of olive oil and freshly cut parsley. Serve with some pita or lavash, or as part of a beautiful mezze.