I have not mastered making dips or spreads with eggplants. British people make aubergine caviar. People from the Middle East or the Arab world make baba ghanoush. I have to work on proportions and texture unless I find a good recipe. Eggplants have a delicate flavor that is easy to corrupt. I am searching for the perfect combination of ingredients. Over blending eggplants or most fruits and vegetables makes baby food. Baby food is probably shiny because light reflects well on the very smooth surface of the pureed ingredients.
Aubergine caviar mixes roasted aubergines, roasted garlic, and thyme or rosemary, to make a course spread. The puree is seasoned with salt. The texture and flavor of the caviar can be changed by adding sour cream, or lemon juice. Baba ghanoush is mixed with tahini, lemon juice, and salt. This dip or spread is garnished with olive oil and paprika.
Roast eggplants in the oven, in a pan, or on a grill. Turn the eggplants a couple of times while they cook. The point is to cook them until they deflate. Poke some holes in eggplants with a knife otherwise they might explode. If you want to take a risk, omit the holes. When the eggplants are almost finished roasting, high pressure steam pushing through a weak spot in the flesh of the eggplant might create a whistling noise. The volume of the noise is not loud.
The recipe in the Joy of Cooking is good. Use half of the amount of salt. Make it course or smooth.
1. “Spicy Chick Peas with Aubergine Caviar with Angela Hartnett.” YouTube video, 6:39. Posted by “My Kitchen,” May 15, 2013. https://youtu.be/NWIZue3DhpY.
2. “Slow-Cooked Aubergine – Gordon Ramsay.” YouTube video, 1:05. Posted by “Gordon Ramsay,” April 23, 2015. https://youtu.be/GgTuaBIW9Nc.
3. “Gordon Ramsay – Aubergine caviar.” YouTube video, 6:38. Posted by “macopoloo,” October 17, 2009. https://youtu.be/3tSfgIa_hG0.
4. “How to make Baba Ghanoush.” YouTube video, 10:40. Posted by “Hot and Spicy LevantTV,” September 9, 2013. https://youtu.be/sNej8ZhP0oA.
5. Pamela Sheldon Johns: Williams-Sonoma: Italian (New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2003), 75.
6. Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker: The Joy of Cooking (New York: Scribner, 2006), 74-75.