Smoky Eggplant with Tahini
Recipe, words & images by Harriet Davidson
Eggplant. It’s usually my answer to the question “What’s your favourite vegetable?” There’s something about its silky texture and subtle flavour that lends so well to so many cuisines and dishes. With summer having come to an end, I’m making the most of them, most often with Mediterranean flavours. Perhaps my way of transporting myself to somewhere in Corsica.
This recipe is inspired by what I think to be the best falafel spot in Stockholm, Falafelbaren, and by one of my all-time favourite chefs, Gabrielle Hamilton, who’s eggplant recipe is the dirtiest page in my copy of her cookbook, Prune. The flesh of the eggplant collapses inside its charred black skin creating that delicious smoky flavour, which is balanced with the nutty tahini sauce and creaminess of the goat’s cheese. Add some olive oil and lemon and it’s a very good time. Don’t be scared of the char, or of putting an eggplant directly onto a flame - you need to take it a little further than you think. Commit to the char.
I eat this through summer with a peach and tomato salad, some crunchy bread and a tin of anchovies, or with falafel, hummus and flatbread. I hope you can squeeze in a few while the days are still warm and the nights are still long.
2 eggplants, or 1 large eggplant
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
Juice and zest of half a lemon
3 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt
Place washed eggplant directly onto the burners of a gas stove and place flame on high. You can also use a barbecue for this, or if you happen to have an open fire around, that’s even better. Cook eggplant until it’s charred all the way around, using tongs to turn it as you go. Char them a little further than you think you should - they’ll start to smell smoky as they cook but keep going until they’re black.
When they start to collapse, remove from heat and place in a large bowl. Cover with cling wrap and let sit for 15 minutes to steam and peel away from the skin. Uncover and let cool slightly. Remove the eggplant from the bowl, keeping any juices that have leaked out. Over the bowl, peel away and discard the charred skin of the eggplant until you have a whole, skinless, eggplant. Do this to both and set aside.
Strain the liquid that came from the eggplant to get rid of any charred skin and pour it back into the bowl. Stir in the juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, one shaved garlic clove and a good pinch of salt. Stir together and carefully place eggplants back in, coating them with the dressing. Set aside while you prepare the tahini sauce
Whisk together all ingredients for the tahini dressing. You want a fairly thick consistency - adjust as needed, adding in more olive oil or tahini. Spread this onto a plate. Place eggplants on top, add dollops of goat’s cheese, sprinkle with sesame seeds and sprinkle with roughly chopped parsley leaves and stems. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil to serve.