Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Our Eggplant Experiment

Eggplant allergy? The doctor emphatically said, “No!”

What a relief! After years of avoiding eggplant, my husband was informed by his doctor that he is not allergic to this particular nightshade.
Doug and I have been married for almost 38 years, and in that time I have avoided preparing any dish which required eggplant or walnuts on his behalf. These two very Armenian ingredients caused undesirable reactions when he ate either of them.

Before we went to Armenia last April, Doug was determined to try eating eggplant. He'd discussed his eggplant concern with his doctor and after a thorough examination, Doug got an ‘all-clear’ report. The doctor confidently stated, “Eat some eggplant; it won’t kill you. I’ll stake my reputation on it!”

I asked Doug why, after all these years, was he so anxious to check on this alleged food allergy. He said he was afraid that eggplant might be ‘hidden’ in some recipe in Armenia, and if he ate it and suffered an allergic reaction, he couldn’t be sure of receiving proper medical attention so far from home.
I couldn’t argue with that. So, off to the market we went to begin our eggplant experiment.
Mutabbal with Lavash
We bought a variety of eggplants - different shapes, colors, and sizes. We grilled slices coated with a little olive oil, salt and pepper; dipped some slices in egg and pan-fried them; and made mutabbal (eggplant -tahini purée, or to some, baba ganoush). See recipe below.

Doug valiantly sampled bite-after-bite, recipe-after-recipe. The result: no reaction to eggplant at all! Would he continue to eat eggplant? Possibly, but he won’t go out of his way to ask for it or order it in a restaurant. The important thing is he won’t have to worry that eggplant might be lurking in a recipe, or fear for his life.

Now, if he could get a medical ‘all-clear’ for walnuts – but - that’s another story.

Mutabbal (Eggplant -Tahini Purée)
Ingredients:
1 large eggplant
2 medium cloves garlic, mashed
3/4 tsp. salt
Juice of 1 medium lemon, or to taste
¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
¾ tsp. cumin, optional
3 to 4 Tbsp. water

Garnish Options: Chopped parsley, chopped Kalamata olives, a drizzle of olive oil

Directions:
 1. Wash the eggplant and pat dry. Using a sharp knife or fork, pierce the skin in several   places on all sides of the eggplant.


Washed and pierced eggplant
2. Preheat oven to 450-500°F. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the eggplant halfway through. The eggplant skin should turn black and the flesh should be soft but not mushy.

3. Allow eggplant to cool. Remove the stem and skin, scraping off any flesh that might adhere to skin. Discard as many seeds as possible.
Roasted eggplant


Eggplant with skin removed
Scooped-out eggplant seeds
4.    Place eggplant flesh in bowl and mash thoroughly with a fork.  Add the mashed garlic, salt, lemon juice, tahini, cumin (if using), and water, mixing until well-blended. (An immersion blender, food processor or regular blender may be used for this step.)


Garlic mashed with salt
5.    Spread eggplant mixture on a serving plate; smooth it out with the back of a spoon. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped parsley or chopped olives, if desired. Serve as an appetizer with pita bread or lavash.

My Observation: I used only half the amount of the tahini-garlic mixture. It would have been enough for 2 roasted eggplants. By the time the eggplant was cooked and the seeds were removed, the amount of flesh was less than I anticipated. I have enough leftover tahini mixture for another roasted eggplant - or - to use in a hummus recipe!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, this recipe is simple and tasty but I cannot cook it because my child has an allergy. I thought that it's a huge problem but after reading http://stopallergyguide.com/ I understood that it's not :)

    ReplyDelete