The garden is giving out personal eggplants.  At least, they are on the small side—you couldn’t put them in your pocket—but you could maybe in your purse… I just was thinking how BIG everything is at the store.  And then there are those small round “personal” watermelons I see at HEB.  Not sure why we need those.  I still couldn’t eat a whole personal watermelon, as it is about half the size of a regular oblong watermelon.

I think there is a conspiracy to produce very large specimens at the grocer.  Small and sometimes odd-shaped is how things look when you grow them yourself, so be wary of larger-than-life poor tasting (but good looking) produce.

We have six eggplant bushes this year, thanks to my mom for making me plant in March!

I could go for some tangy nutty fluffy babaganouj—or babagannoush, or baba ganouj—does anyone know how to spell this dish?  I have googled and there is no consensus.  Please post your spellings in the comments!  (With etymology if possible…).  We ate this yesterday at Sandy Oaks.  I have been eating this since I was a teenager, when I visited the Middle East.  It is often second fiddle to hummus, but to me it is much more complex because of the main ingredient being vegetable, rather than a bean.

Spelling aside, this is a simple dish, and I imagine you could make it with a bean masher even.  But tonight we are using the food processor.

I sliced two small eggplants in half long ways, salted them for a few minutes with some kosher salt, and then rinsed all the water and salt off.  I drizzled some olive oil, and put them in the broiler for about 10 minutes.  Then I flipped them and cooked them a few minutes more.  They should be soft and easy to scoop out the seeds and flesh from the skin, which should have turned a sort of cloudy dark brown.  No more shiny aubergine.

Let them cool, enough so you can touch them to do the scooping. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon into the food processor. Add ¼ cup sesame tahini, ¼ cup good olive oil (we are using Sandy Oaks Texas olive oil), the juice of 1 large juicy lemon, (or 2 small less juicy ones), 1 clove of garlic, and salt to taste.  A little paprika is good on top, as a garnish.  The key to the smoky flavor is the broiling.  You could also grill the eggplants.

I like this dip with tortilla chips as much as pita.   Do you make this dish?  Do you add any special ingredients? What else can I do with eggplants?  What are you growing in the garden?

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