Monday, October 4, 2010

Eggplants & Red Peppers

Homemade red pepper pesto & baba ganoush
The CSA box has had some nice big eggplants and red peppers recently.  I am always trying to find simple solutions to make the produce last longer.  Lately that has involved roasting an turning them into dips like red pepper pesto & baba ganoush.

First I cut the red peppers in 3rds, removing all the seeds and ribs.  I put them skin side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put them under the broiler.  I could hear the skin popping and sizzling as it blackened and blistered.  I turned the pan about half way thru (about the 5 minute mark - will differ with the oven) to be sure all the skins got blistered and blackened.  After removing the peppers from the oven, grab the edges of the parchment paper and toss the still hot peppers in a plastic bag & tie up the opening.

While the pepper are cooling enough to handle, turn the oven down to 350F & put fresh parchment paper on the baking sheet.  I poke 2 eggplants with a knife - 3-4 stabs - lay them on the sheet and into the oven they go for about an hour.

Once the red peppers have cooled enough to handle, the skins slip off without much effort.  Any stubborn bits come off when scraped with the back of my knife.  The soft flesh and any liquid from the bag go into the food processor work bowl.  Next a pinch of kosher salt, a couple turns of the pepper mill, and a splash of olive oil.  I let the food processor do its thing and pulverize everything.  I add a little more olive oil and a couple tablespoons of water to thin it to the consistency I want (it will thicken in the fridge).

I have to give my former upstairs neighbor, Harry, the credit for this recipe.  We would have Shabbat dinners together most Fridays when he lived here in Philly.  It was always super convenient being he was just upstairs and it was a great relaxing ritual for us to reset from the week.  I don't have Shabbat as often anymore with Harry since he and his ever expanding family moved to DC, but when I do make it there it is still a great time with him, his wife, & his two great kids.

I use this pesto on everything!  I spread it on fresh warm malawach.  I toss pasta in it.  I spread it on chicken and bake.  I put it on a sandwich.  It's delicious!  You can store it in a jar in the fridge or you can freeze it.  When I freeze it, I like to do it in an ice tray so I have a few tablespoons to use at a time without having to defrost the whole batch.

Back to the eggplants, once they cooled I scoop the flesh out and drop it in the cleaned food processor work bowl.  I added in a handful of rough chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic, a generous drizzle of tehini, a squeeze if half a lime, a sprinkle of salt & pepper.  With the food processor running I drizzle in some olive oil to thin out the baba ganoush mixture.  I stop a couple time and taste it to make adjustments in seasoning.  Once it's smooth, it goes into the jar & into the fridge.

These are two of my favorite spreads for malawach and sometimes I just can't decide which one to have...

So I don't!
Ess Eppis!

1 comment:

  1. babba ghanouj is sooo worth making, i love grilling the eggplant. adds a nice smokyness