Updated: Feb 7
The eggplant is a king in Levant cuisine, we fry it, roast it, bake with it, cook it, stuff it, and pickle it, but we especially like to burn it. Enter an Israeli home on Friday afternoon and most likely you'll be welcomed by the smell of a whole eggplant being slowly charred directly over the stovetop's gas flame. The eggplant smoked flesh would be later scooped out and mashed, then blended with other ingredients - tomatoes, peppers, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and tahini - to make a dip or a salad for the Shabat dinner. When grilling meat outdoors, we would always toss in an eggplant or two (making first a cut lengthwise or pricking with a knife), then serve it as a whole, open-side up, topped with all other ingredients. Charging under the broiler is another option, as described in the recipe below. When shopping for eggplants, buy fresh and prepare to use them the day you purchased or the day after, choose those that are lighter for their size (the lightweight ones contain fewer seeds and are less bitter), and their skin is smooth and shiny.
2 large eggplants
1/4 cup (60 gr) tahini paste
2 garlic cloves, minced (add even more, if you wish)
Lemon Juice from ½ lemon, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
Chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven on the broiler and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (parchment paper will burn under the broiler's high heat).
Make one dip cut lengthwise in each eggplant or score with a knife in a few places, and place on the lined baking sheet right under the broiler.
Use metal tongs to turn around each eggplant every 10 minutes or so and let broil until the entire eggplant becomes tender, and the skin is completely charred and flaky. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Scoop the flesh with a spoon and transfer to a colander, drain for half an hour or more to get rid of as much water as possible.
Add in the tahini, minced garlic, lemon juice, and salt, and mix.
Garnish with chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds right before serving.