Saturday, September 18, 2010

It's Greek to me

On a recent wine trip upstate NY we stopped at a little college town called New Platz.  We were looking for place to lunch and the town had, what looked like, a few nice places.  We ended up in a little Greek restaurant called Yanni's.  Now Greek food is not glamorous, but if done right can be deliciously simple.  We ordered a few things that were freshly made and great, like sautéed eggplant, pepper dish which name I forgot and Skordalia (mashed potatoes, garlic dip).  The best was an appetizer, which for American diners is called babaganush on the menu, but in reality is Melitzanosalata.  Now I have eaten and made many different variations of this dish.  A similar dish exist in Russian, Ukrainian and Middle Easter cuisine, but I really liked this particular one.  I asked the owner and the chef for the recipe, which he did not divulge, however he did give me a few hits.  So I set out to re-create it the best I could.  Here is the recipe and some thoughts on changing it ( next time).

2 Medium Eggplant
1 clove garlic chopped
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs white wine vinegar
1 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs of chopped Italian parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Poke a few holes in the eggplants and roast on a baking sheet until soft inside, about 40 min.  You can also roast on the grill; it takes less time and adds a nice smoky flavor.  (Don’t forget those holes, as eggplants can explode, and the cleanup is not pretty).
Let the eggplants cool and remove the outer skin scraping down and reserving the flesh.  Place the eggplant, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and parsley in the food processor and pulse until combined.  Add olive oil, salt and pepper and pulse a few times more.  You will now have a smooth eggplant paste delicious served with warm pita bread.
Next time I would process only a about a quarter of the eggplant with all other ingredients.  I would roughly chop the rest and then combine altogether.  It will give the dish a bit more texture.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I roast eggplant, I cut it in half and lay on a baking sheet cut side down. It prevents explosions and easy to clean. Also, I drain it in a collander. It takes the bitterness away.