I’ve never liked eggplant. (I’ve also never liked snorting raspberry jelly out my nose, but that’s a story for another day.) If I felt like playing the blame game, I could probably point the finger at my mother for my life-long eggplant aversion.
“It’s her fault!” I could proclaim to the judge and jury, throwing platefuls of moussaka and veggie stacks onto the courtroom floor à la Matt Preston in that awful choreographed Masterchef moment. “She never gave me eggplant as a child! Her allergies left me out in the cold, eggplant-wise!”
Such an accusation would, however, be unfounded. My mother is also allergic to tomatoes, but you’ll never see me shying away from a puttanesca or a bouillabaisse. Nor can she eat peanuts, and yet we all know about my flavoured peanut butter addiction. (What? It’s better than being addicted to crack.)
In all honesty, I can’t tell you why I’ve never enjoyed eggplant. All I know is that its spongy texture gives me the heebie jeebies, and so I have avoided it as much as possible.
Several days ago, I decided it was high time to give eggplant another shot. To feel the fear and do it anyway. Sure, I avoided the textural issue by roasting the eggplants then pureeing them with spices and tahini, but you know what? This was a good move. I can now say that I quite enjoy eggplant… in a certain format. Time will tell how I fare when meeting it alone in a darkened alley. Or grilled in a panini. Whichever comes first.
Roasted Eggplant and Tahini Soup
Serves 4 – adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly Essential Soup Cookbook
- 1.2kg whole eggplant
- 1 tb olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 tsps ground cumin
- 1.25 litres (5 cups) vegetable stock
- 2 tb tahini
- 2 tb lemon juice
- natural yogurt, or vegan subsitute, to serve. And if you’re me, red chilli flakes and/or Tabasco, to serve.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (375°F).
- Prick eggplants all over with a fork, then place on a greased oven tray and roast until soft, about 1 hour. Peel once the eggplants are cool enough to touch (we don’t want any burnt fingers now, do we?), then chop coarsely.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, garlic, and cumin until onion is softened and mix is fragrant. Add in eggplant and stock, bring to the boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
- Allow to cool 5-10 minutes, then blend or process until pureed. (Do this either in batches in a food processor/blender, or with a handheld blender stick thingamajig that goes directly into the pot. I loves me that thingamajig.)
- Reheat soup in saucepan with tahini and lemon juice. Divide between bowls and dollop with natural yogurt.