When asked to join some friends for dinner, I offered to bring an appetizer. They were making curry, so I wanted some flavors that would blend with curry. Cumin is a central curry flavor, so I hoped that baba ganoush would be a nice match. I love baba ganoush, the Mediterranean roasted eggplant dish that is garlicy and citrusy. The problem is that Alex is allergic to eggplants, which puts my baba ganoush consumption well below the desired level.
So, what’s a girl to do? Try zucchini, I suppose. I crossed my fingers that this would work, and began to roast. I did have my Sesame Edamame as a back up plan. Guess what? Solution found! Not only did it work, but I think I might like this better because it’s so much healthier. Eggplant tends to absorb a lot of oil, while my version has virtually none! I think this will be showing up on many future tables!
- 3 zucchinis
- 1/3 c tahini (sesame paste)
- 3 lemons
- 2 cloves garlic, grated on a micro plane
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 2 Tbsp red onion, minced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 c pomegranate seeds (*)
- Paprika, optional
- Garlic Toast or pita chips
Roast the whole zucchinis in the oven at very high heat, or under the broiler, for about 1 hour or until they are charred and the inside is very tender. Slice off the ends, and cut vertically to cool. Allow them to come to room temperature. As they cool, they will let off liquid so place them on a towel or bowl and discard the liquid. In a food processor, place the zucchini, tahini, zest and juice of the lemons, grated garlic, salt, and cumin and pulse to combine. Remove the mixture to a bowl and stir in minced red onions and about 3/4 of the pomegranate seeds, reserving some for garnish. Garnish with a drizzle of the olive oil, sliced onions and the remaining pomegranate seeds, and a sprinkle of paprika (if using).
- Olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
Slice the baguette diagonally in very thin pieces. Spray or brush one side of each slice with oil. Place on a cookie sheet and broil until toasted (1-2 minutes). Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn. Immediately after the toast is removed from the broiler, lightly rub the raw garlic clove on the toasted side of the bread.
(*) I recently learned a great trick to open the pomegranate with limited carnage on your counters and clothes. Prepare a medium bowl filled half way with water. Cut a slice off the “star” end of the pomegranate to expose the veins inside that also form a star. With a knife, follow the veins and make very shallow cut on each of the veins. Open one wedge at a time, and dunk the wedge in a water bowl and gently pop the seeds out with your thumb. Best way I’ve found yet! I do still wear an apron, though… just in case.
If pomegranates aren’t in season, chopped dried cranberries and pine nuts would work too!