This week Trotski & Ash turned two. Hooray! And Hoorah! Two whole years of cooking, photographing (thanks Lauren you are magical), eating and telling stories. Thank you all so much for reading.
Now, perhaps this week, a birthday cake recipe would have been most appropriate? But instead we have a party recipe – babaganoush toasts. So simple, and so intensely satisfying, they make great canapés. And the secret is in really burning the eggplants up. I make mine on the gas stovetop, putting the eggplants directly on the flame. It makes a great mess of the stove, and sets the fire alarm off for sure, but without the smoky flavour babaganoush is bland and nothing. So burn them until they’re black and the skin crackles right off.
Happy birthday to us, and happy cooking to all of you.
Sarah and I first published this recipe in Yen magazine, N. 47. The babaganoush recipe is adapted from Moro The Cookbook by Sam and Sam Clarke.
2 large eggplants, or 3 medium eggplants
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp flaked sea salt
3 tbsp tahini
1 lemon, juiced
3 tbsp olive oil
sourdough bread, sliced thinly
nigella seeds (nigella seeds are a black sesame, they have a nice smoky spice to them)
To make the toasts, put the thinly sliced bread, that is cut into bite sized pieces, on a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and a little salt and bake until crisp in a 180C oven. This takes about 15 minutes.
In the meantime make a couple of incisions in the eggplants so that while cooking, the steam can escape. Place the eggplants directly on the flame of the stovetop burner – you need a gas stove for this. If gas is not an option, the eggplants can be cooked inside a hot oven until soft, but the babaganoush will not have that beautiful smoky flavour, so a direct flame is best. Using a BBQ is also an option. With tongs, turn the eggplants so that they cook evenly on all sides. They are ready when the skin is black and flaky and they are soft on the inside. This can be a messy process, but not to worry, just clean the stovetop after. Set aside to cool.
In a mortar and pestle pound the garlic with the salt. When the eggplants are cool, peel off the black skin, scraping the flesh from the back of the skin with a spoon if necessary. Put the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Add the garlicy salt, the tahini, olive oil and lemon juice. Whisk together until smooth. Taste, and adjust seasoning.
Give each toast a spoonful of babaganoush and a sprinkle of nigella seeds, serve immediately.