It’s about this time of year when I start craving summer vegetables.
As much as I love spring onions, baby lettuce and asparagus, I begin to develop a deep longing for the fruits of midsummer, namely summer squash, red pepper, heirloom tomatoes and eggplant.
Truth be told, I’ve never had much luck with eggplants in my garden. Though I try almost every year, the little plant stalks either wither away in the first stages, or the fruit becomes dinner for insects far before harvest time.
Needless to say, I purchased these eggplants at the grocery store. Though I remain hopeful for this year’s nightshade garden.
Look for medium-sized fruits that feel firm and weighty. The more massive eggplants may seem like a better bet, but are typically less flavorful as their size comes largely from water content.
This dish makes a good appetizer. I served this one with freshly baked sourdough bread slices. It could also make a great main course served over herbed rice or cous cous.
Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Yogurt Sauce
Two medium eggplants
salt and black pepper
olive oil approximately 1/4 cup, or enough to coat each eggplant
Ingredients (yogurt sauce):
1 cup greek (or strained) yogurt
1/2 cup tahini
4 cloves garlic
4 tbs olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
Top with: additional black pepper and zatar seasoning
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise
Lay each half face up in a roasting pan or sheet
Make four diagonal cuts in each each half, making sure not to cut through the skin
Make four additional cuts in the other direction, creating a diamond pattern
Drizzle half the olive oil onto the eggplants
Wait about two minutes for the oil to soak into the eggplant, then add the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper
Roast the eggplants in the oven for approximately 45 minutes, watching to ensure they are browned and slightly charred, but not burned
While the eggplant is roasting, make the sauce.
Add the following ingredients to a high-powered blender or food processor:
garlic cloves, greek yogurt, tahini, 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper
Blend at varying intensity until smooth and fully combined. If your greek yogurt is particularly stiff, you may need to add additional olive oil to coax all the ingredients to blend together properly
Lay each eggplant half seed-side up on a platter
Evenly distribute the yogurt sauce
Sprinkle with zatar seasoning and black pepper
Any leftovers make a great dip for raw vegetables or pita chips. The eggplant is so soft, you don’t even need to blend it. Just lightly mix any leftover eggplant and yogurt sauce in a bowl and save for later.