My lack of love for eggplant has been previously mentioned herein. Each summer, though, the tide of eggplant rises along with the other nightshades – tomatoes, peppers – and eventually, a globe or two shows up in our CSA box from T&D Willey and I must dispense with it. This was the week.
That "previously mentioned" link above – to a recipe for Royal Eggplant with Garlic, which is a really delicious smoky roasted eggplant puree with tomatoes, onions, spices and butter – is one of my two ways of coping with eggplant. My other coping mechanism is baba ganoush. Load eggplant up with olive oil, tahini & lemon juice, and really, there’s no reason not to eat it.
It’s sad that I have two eggplant recipes and a bajillion ways of using just about every other kind of produce, but they are two really good eggplant recipes.
So, not having posted my baba ganoush recipe previously, that’s where I headed on Saturday. The heat had broken (it was going to be 104 instead of 112; that’s what we mean in Fresno when we say it’s going to be "cooler") and so I took some time before the day got really hot to roast the eggplant in the oven.
This occasion is one of those times that I think I should buy a grill to avoid heating up the house with the oven, and then Chimp reminds me that you have to cook on a grill outside. Well, scratch that when it’s 110.
I think I could skip buying the grill entirely; just oil the eggplant up and lay it on a well-scrubbed section of patio, then go out and kick it every 30 minutes or so. Come to think of it, why don’t I have a solar oven? And along with that, why isn’t every roof in this town covered with solar panels? You’d think we could make a mint. I must be missing something.
But I’m getting off track here.
I came home from the market, washed the eggplant, and popped it in the oven to broil while I washed some shallots (for something else) to roast along with the eggplant. I was tossing the shallots in a dish with some grapeseed oil and salt when
"Aha," I thought to myself, "That must be the eggplant exploding."
I opened the door. My oven had birthed a Japanese tentacle monster.
Exploding the eggplant was not originally part of my baba ganoush recipe, but if you, like me, are tired or forgetful and omit the step of pricking the eggplant before you place it in the oven, I want you to know that this recipe has been tested with both exploded and intact eggplant on separate occasions, and both kinds work just fine.