Two eggplant recipes

Baba Ghanoush
Roasted Eggplant Dip

adapted from The Joy of Cooking

This is one of my favorite ways to eat eggplant. I love to make a big quantity to freeze in smaller batches for eating all winter. I never measure the quantities exactly, and it always turns out just as yummy. I just taste as I blend to see whether it needs more salt, lemon, garlic, tahini, etc.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Pierce your eggplant in several places and roast on a baking sheet until the skins are dark mahogany in color and the flesh feels soft (20-45 minutes, depending on size of eggplant). Let stand until cool enough to handle. Split the eggplants and scoop the flesh into a colander. Press lightly to extract the excess liquid. Remove to a food processor and add: tahini, chopped garlic cloves, juice of 1 large lemon, salt to taste. Pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Keeps for several days in the refrigerator; or, freeze for use later.
Serve in a shallow bowl and garnish with olive oil, finely chopped parsley, and/or several pitted black olives. Serve with warm pita bread or sliced carrots or cucumbers for dipping!

Baked Eggplant
adapted from The Joy of Cooking

The small, oblong Asian varieties of eggplant are a perfect size and shape for this dish, and they do not require prior salting.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Halve eggplants lengthwise. Score the cut surfaces with a knife without cutting through the skin.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet until hot. Add the eggplants cut side down. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side for several minutes. Remove and arrange cut side up and top to tail in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with ground black pepper and crumbled feta cheese.

Heat more olive oil in the skillet, and add chopped tomatoes (peeled and seeded if you have time and desire to do so). Cook, stirring, until broken down into a rough sauce, 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Spoon the tomatoes over the eggplants. Cover and bake until the eggplants are tender, about 35 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle the tops with ½ teaspoon dried oregano. Bake for 5 minutes more uncovered.
Serve alongside a simple pasta dish or with crusty bread and a Caesar salad.

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