The variety of eggplant available at the farmers market is astounding: globe or American, Italian, Japanese, and Indian. It’s a good thing. I like choices, except it’s a bit bewildering. What’s the right kind of eggplant to choose for a certain dish?
I knew I needed some eggplants, but somehow I did not read closely enough what’s needed for David’s recipe. Then I picked up some round globe eggplants thinking that, well, I needed some big and sturdy ones to withstand the flame of a gas burner, the first of the two-step procedure in cooking the eggplants. I guessed right, but wait!
Size matters. From cooking through this recipe, I can say from experience that the smallest skinniest eggplant, among those I purchased, gave me a much harder time to scrape the pulp out after the second roasting step.
Alrighty, I’ll be sure to pick out big round compact globe eggplants that’d hold up well against the two-step cooking process for this dish. (Char first on the grill or stovetop, then finish cooking in the oven.) They’d fit better over the gas stove and they have more flesh to scrape out after roasting in the oven.
Eggplant is a subtle vegetable that can work with strong herbs. I picked some basil from the garden. Herbs like rosemary or marjoram could stand up well against the eggplant for an aromatic dip. Furthermore, eggplant can take on even richer, meatier flavor when it’s enhanced with miso or tahini. There are a lot of possibilities cooking with eggplant. Probably, this is a starting point from which to take off in endless directions. I’m already planning for the next dish!
What I like most about this dish is the smoky flavor. I’d develop that smokiness further next time. I served this dip together with a beet dip to pair with some vegetables: green beans, cucumbers, roasted tomatoes and potatoes for a light dinner on a hot summer day.
Please see how our friends at Cook-the-book-fridays tackle this dish. We are a group of home cooks who have gathered to cook through the recipes in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, one recipe at a time. Come join the group and cook along with us.