I made the eggplant butter late yesterday afternoon and I have to say this recipe from Nellie Cashman's Monday Cafe at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, is a winner all around.
It is easy to make - no special skills required.
It doesn't take very long - a little over an hour to give the roasted eggplants time to cool enough for ease of handling.
It isn't one of those recipes that take a lot of attention. It is something you can easily put together while you are attending to other things. You roast and then add other ingredients.
And, it is one of those "other" ingredients, that elevates the Butter above the Ghanoush, to our way of tasting.
It was my daughter who pinpointed the delicious difference. The white balsamic vinegar, in addition to the fresh lemon juice, gives the mixture what we think is a better acidic balance overall than your standard Baba Ghanoush.
The only downside I can see to the recipe is that while rich it is yet so delicious it is hard to stop eating it just because you know you "should". Self control not being one of my strengths I suppose I'll have to settle for portion control.
Here is the recipe again just in case you missed it and don't want to go clicking around:
2 tbls chopped garlic
3/4 cups olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbls white balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and ground white pepper to taste
Set oven at 350 F. Cut eggplants in half, drizzle eggplant halves with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Roast eggplant (cut side down) on a baking sheet until soft - about 30 minutes
Cool until easy to handle.
Peel eggplant*, add rest of ingredients and process or blend until smooth.
Finish with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature but store covered in the refrigerator. (I will let you know how long it lasts if we don't eat it all in two days....)
*I found it easiest to cradle the roasted, cooled eggplant skin down in my hand, use a large spoon to disconnect the fleshly interior from the stemmed top, and then scoop the pulp directly down into the food processor. Most of the eggplant came away pretty cleanly from the skin with only a few stubborn strands that I could easily disconnect with the spoon edge. However you get the pulp out, it is going to be blended smooth, so you don't get style points for leaving it intact. Just get it out and move on. See? Easy - I told you! And delicious.
We have been enjoying this on homemade toasted pita chips but it would work well with flour tortillas or any sort of flat bread. Play around with what you dip into it - I have a feeling the flavor will work well with a host of delivery foods.
Now I find myself wondering how reasonable it would be to try and grow my own eggplant plants? I could see an advantage to having a steady supply all my own.
You know, give a gal some eggplant butter and she'll be happy and well filled. Teach her how to make the recipe and grow her own and....she'll need elastic waisted pants!?!? That needs work, clearly - I'll be back to finish butchering that metaphor another day.