Oh the end of August. We're sick of weeds and almost sick of tomatoes. Our days are mostly spent harvesting, sorting and packing. We're sending our first round of tomato seconds to get processed into sauce and we are so ready for those crisp fall days. But we're loving the flower patch and our weed-free fall greens, we're excited watching the cabbages and cauliflowers grow and we're looking forward to that big potato harvest. The peppers have finally turned and we're eating as much eggplant as possible! We hope you're enjoying the last few days of August and savoring the flavors of summer!
Scenes from the farm: 1st of the fall greens, harvesting tomatoes, the sunflower patch, the PYO flower patch, ripe peppers!
Smoky Eggplant Spread
- YIELDabout 2 cups
- TIME40 minutes
Essentially a delightful eggplant schmear to eat with warm pita triangles, this spread gets its pleasant smoky flavor from a deliberate charring of the eggplant skin. Whether over hot coals or under the broiler, the eggplant must be mercilessly blackened (the inner sweet flesh gets steamed to softness in the process). Tahini, olive oil, cumin, lemon and hot pepper take care of the rest.
Featured in: A Round Friend To Everyone.
- 3 medium eggplants, about 2 pounds
- ¼ cup tahini paste
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 4 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon cumin seed, toasted until fragrant and coarsely ground
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
- Pita or other flatbread, for serving (optional)
- Prepare a charcoal fire or heat the broiler. Pierce eggplants here and there with the point of a paring knife. Place eggplants 2 inches from heat source. Allow skins to blister and char, turning with tongs until entire surface is blackened and eggplants are completely soft, about 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Slice eggplants in half lengthwise and lay skin side down on a cutting board. Carefully scrape away flesh with a knife and put it in a colander. Discard burned skins. Do not rinse eggplant flesh — a few bits of remaining char is fine. Salt flesh lightly and leave for 5 to 10 minutes, then squeeze into a ball to remove liquid.
- Blitz eggplant, 1/2 teaspoon salt, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and cayenne in a food processor or blender to obtain a creamy purée. (For a more rustic spread, beat with a whisk instead.) Taste and adjust salt and lemon juice if necessary. Transfer mixture to a shallow serving bowl.
- Just before serving, stir together cumin and olive oil, and spoon over the mixture’s surface. Sprinkle with paprika, parsley and mint. Serve with warm pita cut into triangles if desired.