By Henry Gould – July 18th, 2018
Hope everyone is beating the heat! We’ll complain when the rain starts, so best to soak up every last drop of the summer in Vancouver while it’s still here.
Below is a wonderful recipe for summer, as you can do the eggplants on the BBQ, bring to the table on a big platter and let everyone dress themselves.
The key is using the longer, skinnier Japanese eggplants, as a regular eggplant is too big and the ratio of skin to flesh makes it less appetizing.
For the spicy tahini sauce, it’s completely vegan and gluten free, so this recipe should please anyones dietary restrictions. Harissa is a spicy chili paste from North Africa which you can find most places, but definitely in Middle Eastern grocery stores. Usually it comes in a metal tube in a yellow and blue box, or a small can similar to tomato paste.
I’ve included a bunch of optional toppings, which would take this from a side dish to more of a full meal.
- Long Japanese Eggplants, 1-2 per person
- Tahini (preferably from Lebanon or Israel)
- Sea Salt
- 2-3 lemons
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped and mashed with a knife
- Pinch of ground cumin
- Pinch of ground coriander
- Harissa (or Chili Flakes, or your favorite hot sauce)
- Olive Oil
- Cold Water
- Optional toppings
- Crispy Roasted Chickpeas
- Feta cheese
- Pomegranite Seeds
- Bread crumbs toasted in olive oil
- Pine nuts
Take your eggplants and throw directly on a hot barbecue or under a broiler. Cook, rotating frequently, so that the outside skin blisters and charrs very slightly, but not too much (you would ideally be eating the skin, so keep that in mind when cooking….).
To make the sauce, pour tahini in a large bowl and add the garlic, cumin and coriander, then a healthy amount of olive oil – more than half the equivalent volume of tahini. As you start to mix, usually the tahini tightens up quite a bit, or even looks like it has “split”. That’s OK. Add a small amount of water and stir, stir, stir. If it’s still too thick, add a little more water and keep stirring. Ideally the sauce should be the consistency of a salad dressing, thick but still oozy.
Adjust the seasoning of the sauce with salt, lemon juice and harissa (or chilis / hot sauce). The sauce should be quite lemony, salty and rich, as it will be seasoning your eggplant. Make it as spicy as your palate allows…
When the eggplants are done, take them off the barbecue / broiler and allow to cool for a second. Serve each person an eggplant, then instruct them to split down the middle like they would a baked potato, and spoon the sauce over the eggplant. If using the other toppings, top accordingly!