When I was a kid, my mother cooked eggplants on a weekly basis. Everyone in my family loved them – especially eggplant dips and fried eggplants – but me. I thought baba ganoush was disgusting.
Until I was in 11th grade. During high school I was constantly hungry. One day a friend of mine offered me one of the sandwiched his mother prepared for him. He gave it to me and left to go back to his classroom. I didn’t know what was the white spread but I was too hungry to be fussy so I took a bite. I didn’t recognize the flavor. It was unfamiliar and weird yet smoky and sweet. I kept eating until I finished it. I was so curious.
When I asked my friend, he said “I think you got the one with the baba ganoush”. “What? No way! I hate baba ganoush!” Well, not anymore.
The key is to continue trying them in different dishes, and eventually you will become an eggplant lover. Especially if you’re vegan, because they are meaty and rich.
I adapted the recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Naz Deravian. I don’t know what I enjoy more, her writing or her recipes, both poetic and rich.
Iranian-Inspired Eggplant Mezze
- Avocado or olive oil
- 2 medium filipino - sliced in half lengthwise – or regular eggplants*
- 1 medium onion - diced small
- 2-3 garlic cloves - sliced
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon dried meat or any dry herb
- 1 handful walnuts - chopped
- Plant-based yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 400F° (200C°).
- Brush the flesh of the eggplants in olive oil and place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle over them a little bit of salt and roast until the eggplants are very tender, about for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, warm about 3-4 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and stir often. Lower the heat if necessary, don’t let them brown too fast. Cook for 8 minutes then add the dried mint. Continue to cook and stir until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Set a side.
- Let the eggplant cool down then using a spoon, spoon their flesh and put into the skillet (if you used regular eggplants*, then put their meat into a colander, to drain the liquids). Mash them with the spoon a bit and mix with the onion and garlic. Taste and correct seasoning.
- Serve in a deep plate the chopped walnuts sprinkled over and a spoonful of yogurt.
- Eat with good bread or as a side.