Roasted Eggplant with Black Garlic, Pine Nuts and Basil

This happens to be the first recipe in Ottolenghi’s new book NOPI, in the starter section. I have marked a similar recipe, eggplant with black garlic, in his last book Plenty More but has not made the dish because I was not able to get black garlic until now. Ottolenghi said he’d love black garlic to be more widely available. I can’t agree more.

Black garlic is supposed to be one of those superfoods for the health conscious type. Now it has become the star, if not staple, ingredient for chefs.

“We discovered black garlic around the same time that NOPI opened, and quickly became hooked. It has an addictive mellowness and depth of fermented flavor: part balsamic vinegar gummy candy, part licorice allsort.”

Black garlic is basically fermented white garlic. But black garlic owes its characteristic flavor not to fermentation, but enzymatic breakdown and the good old fashioned Maillard reaction. Processed at around 140°F for a month to six weeks, it essentially gets a low and slow roast that converts sugar and turns the cloves black.

First time I tasted black garlic, it was cooked very simply with sauteed asparagus, in its unprocessed form. I was hooked at first bite. You won’t find any uneaten black garlic on anyone’s plate. It was that good and surely addictive. It has a sweet, savory, funky and lively flavor all its own.

There are several recipes of eggplant on this blog. What’s different here is the high-temperature roasting and, of course, the extraordinary black garlic dressing. This recipe calls for eggplant wedges to be roasted at 425°F until golden brown, about 40 minutes. The flavor is further enhanced by mixing roasted eggplant in a black garlic dressing for at least an hour. The end result is some deeply flavored eggplant that very few could identify or distinguish the taste other than: it’s remarkable. There is some unfamiliar umami flavor. You may think it’s soy sauce, anchovy, truffle or molasses. But it’s none other than a few cloves of black garlic in a simple dressing.

 

 

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    Lydia Filgueras
    November 24, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Eggplant is a favorite at our house, too. I'll have to keep an eye out for black garlic but in the meantime I'll be sure to try the recipe with the regular kind 🙂

  • Reply
    Alicia Foodycat
    November 26, 2015 at 11:24 am

    How beautiful! I haven't been super impressed by black garlic so far. I like the idea but the flavour hasn't been there for me. Maybe this dish will turn me around!

  • Reply
    kitchen flavours
    November 26, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Such an appetizing dish. I love eggplants it anyway it is done, and this looks delicious. I have not seen nor tried black garlic before, how interesting! I would love to give it a try if I come across it!

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    November 27, 2015 at 12:15 am

    Black garlic is readily available in Asian markets, especially in Korean markets. Give it a try!

  • Reply
    Zosia
    November 30, 2015 at 12:46 am

    That's such a beautiful colour on the eggplant spears and the flavours sound wonderful. I've had black garlic in restaurants but never looked closely at recipes that use it. I'll have to change that!

  • Reply
    Joyce Rachel Lee-Bates
    November 30, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I realize that you absolutely love eggplants. 😀

  • Reply
    Grace Phua
    December 1, 2015 at 8:00 am

    I'm sure the eggplants tasted really yummy with the black garlic. Refreshing dish!

  • Reply
    Diane Zwang
    December 1, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    I have never heard of black garlic before so I learned something new today.

  • Reply
    Deb in Hawaii
    December 1, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    I have only found black garlic once here at Whole Foods. ;-(
    This dish looks fabulous–love the garlic, pine nuts and basil combo with the eggplant. The dressing sounds like you could eat it with a spoon. 😉

  • Reply
    Kim
    December 6, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    NOPI is on my Christmas list. Ottolenghi's cookbook are always at the top of my list. I find them somewhat groundbreaking in the world of food. This recipe, and the black garlic, are a perfect example of that. The black garlic is something I will keep my eyes open for. This looks incredible!

  • Reply
    TeaLady
    December 14, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Black Garlic! How interesting. This looks wonderfully delish.

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