Eggplant. Whether it's gazpacho or fries, eggplant is fall food that I look forward to seeing on the market shelves. This year's eggplant recipe is one that most people have heard the word but aren't sure what the word means: babaganoush. It's actually a creamy eggplant dip with a bright burst of lemon and fresh cilantro, along with some moody garlic flavor.
The crispy crostini are something that a gluten free eater doesn't usually think of first, but the Udi's bread with olive oil turns out to be a great vehicle for this creamy goodness.
Eggplants also have seeds in the middle. I know when I made the eggplant fries I was a little afraid of the seeds - after all, there are some growing things where we try not to eat the seeds. You know, pumpkins, squash, peaches, pears, apples. Compare that with the foods where it's okay to eat the seeds: strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, and more. Eggplant is one where it's permissible to eat the seeds. And not just permissible, you'll suffer no ill effects if you do. So when you are in the process of putting together your creamy eggplant dip, don't feel the need to pick out the seeds or worry about having them speckled throughout your dip. They're harmless, and even provide a little crunch and texture in the creamy dip.
It's also the time of year when the parsley in our garden is just bursting. Frankly, all the herbs are bursting with their green glory, and I'm shaking my head at the thought of harvesting it all and not having its freshness just waiting for dinner in the backyard. And for the recipe, the fresh parsley is really essential. It's a great opportunity to highlight some really great fresh ingredients you have on hand during eggplant season, and whip together quickly for a party or evening in with your favorite person.
[Printer Friendly Recipe]
1 large eggplant (about 1 pound)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1/4 teaspoon durango smoked salt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons lemon juice
paprika, to taste
several slices gluten free bread (I used Udi's - I think it's the best tasting bread when toasted)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Prick eggplant with a fork and place on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Bake the eggplant until it is soft inside, about 20 minutes. Alternatively, grill the eggplant over a gas grill, rotating it around until the skin is completely charred, about 10 minutes. Let the eggplant cool, covered with the foil from baking. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, drain off the liquid, and scoop the pulp into a food processor. Process the eggplant until smooth and transfer to a medium bowl. (Eggplant can be roasted earlier and placed in the fridge for about a day if needed.)
On the stovetop, saute onion until translucent in a small amount of olive oil and remove from pan to cool. Then, grill slices of bread in olive oil until golden brown. Remove from pan and slice into crostini strips.
On a cutting board, work garlic and 1/4 teaspoon smoked salt together with the flat side of a knife, until it forms a paste. Add the garlic-salt mixture to the eggplant. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Season with more salt and paprika, to taste. Garnish with more chopped parsley and serve with crostini.
And, for your enjoyment, Millcreek Canyon.