Charred summer eggplant, straight from the shuk

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Once I get my hands on this nightshade, there’s one thing I love to do. Put on the stovetop and burn it. The outcome?  

A smoky, unforgettably tender eggplant with flesh that slices like butter. Eat it with feta, olives, a salad and some fresh bread and you’ll forget you’re in Riverdale. Here’s how to get there.

CHARRED EGGPLANT

Serves 4.

In the U.S., I opt for Italian eggplant. Choose a firm eggplant that’s not too big or else it won’t cook through completely. 

4 medium Italian 

eggplants

lemon juice

olive oil

Line the bottom of your stove with foil, cutting out a whole over each gas ring. This will help with easy clean up later.

Light up your stove to medium heat and place an eggplant over each. Let it cook until charred, blistered and soft on one side. It will begin to release juices and drip. Turn the eggplant over and continue on each side until completely tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Carefully transfer to a cutting board. Place board beside your sink. Place a small, stable object under the far end of your board (farther away from sink) in order to tilt the board slightly and allow any liquids to drip out of the eggplant and into the sink. Cut off the stem end and remove the black, charred skin very carefully. Squeeze some lemon juice over the eggplant.

After about 20 minutes, much of the liquid will have drained out of the flesh. Transfer the cooled eggplant to a storage container. Drizzle with a little lemon juice, olive oil and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

When ready to serve, season with salt and pepper and a little more lemon juice and olive oil. The eggplant can be served on it’s own, drizzled with tahini or served with dairy products like feta or labane, a tart yogurt cheese popular in the Middle East. Don’t forget the bread.

 

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