Eggplant Dip or Babaganoush?
I once read in Yotam Ottolenghi’s Best Selling cookbook Jerusalem that Babaganoush’s actual ingredients are debatable and have been debated over corner Machane Yehuda falafel stands for centuries. Is the eggplant puree’ mixed with mayo, tachina, or neither? As I am not a native Israeli nor middle-eastern, I will not throw my hat into this age-old debate as there will be someone with a true connection to this dish who will inform me that their grandmother is rolling in their grave over my rendition and said grandmother is not even dead (true story- see the comment section of my infamous Matbucha Tiktok. There were several locals that I apparently insulted with that one.)
Therefore I will call this Eggplant Spread. I do not doubt that I will be called out on this as well, but that’s just the nature of the internet.
If you are on the foodie side of Tiktok, you for sure have been exposed to the “Butter Trend” in its various versions. So this is mine. Instead of Butter, I am using eggplant, and the different toppings don’t just add beauty but additional layers of flavor.
Shabbat Table Dips
In most Jewish houses’ at least in Israel, there is a tradition to serve dips and small salads as an appetizer with the challah at the Friday night and Shabbat day meals. No doubt this also comes from traditional middle eastern food cultures. I always have a version of eggplant on the table for this part of the meal. Whether it is Spice Crusted Eggplant topped with tachina (like this one) or some version of Babaganoush in a bowl. Over Pesach, we were at a hotel and they served an eggplant puree’ drizzled with tachina and date honey. So obviously when we came home I had to do my own version.
You can either use a knife to chop up the meat of the eggplant or use a food processor and puree it until smooth or keep it chunky. It really depends on your preference and taste. I used a manual hand processor bc it’s just quicker to take out and then clean.
The eggplant is roasted in the oven with the skin on until very very soft. Depending on the oven can be an hour. Classically the eggplant is laid over an open flame on the stove, but this requires you to stand over it, and it is a bit more dangerous. When using the open flame method you do get that smokey taste that will not be achieved in the oven. However, I usually choose to go with the oven since it is safer, and I don’t want to have to stand guard.
Using a spoon you remove the meat of the eggplant and process with a bit of oil, salt, and a garlic clove. The actual presentation should be done ideally before the meal so that it stays pretty but you can prepare it a few hours in advance. To be able to drizzle the tachina if you don’t have the kind that comes in a squeeze bottle, keep the plastic covering over the jar and use a sharp knife just to poke a small slit (i will do a video on this bc its a great hack!). Shake the tachina in the jar before making the slit so the oil of the tachina mixes with the thicker part. Plate the Eggplant Puree first using the back of a spoon in a circular motion. Then drizzle on tachina and date honey using a squirt bottle or a fork. A fork will give thinner lines. Slices up some tomatoes and place them all over. Then chop up some green herbs and sprinkle on top I suggest parsley, coriander, mint, or dill but basil can also work. Sprinkle with salt and viola’.
Tomato and Garlic Confit
- Oven, Oven to Table Dish, Knife
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 10 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup olive oil enough to cover the veggies in the dish your using
- sprinkle coarse salt
- Preheat oven to 180°C or 350°F.
- Place the cherry tomatoes in an oven to table dish. Add the peeled garlic. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes and season with salt.
- Bake for about about 50 minutes, until the cherry tomatoes are all wrinkled and are slightly bursting. Occasionally check the tomatoes and garlic to prevent them from burning.
- Once done, allow to cool at room temperature before storing. Store with the oil and juices covered.
- Warm on your blech Friday night (if there is a lot of liquid put on the blech before shabbat starts).
- Can also be served at room temperature.
- It can be refrigerated for up to 1 month or stored in your freezer for up to 3 months if the tomatoes are all completely covered in the oil.