I created a menu for a romantic dinner for two inspired by the Greek love god, Eros. And since the inspiration is Greek, the dishes are Greek. But these recipes are aphrodisiac Greek! To pair with my Minted Bulgar Salad, I suggest this silky roasted eggplant puree. Eggplant puree, also called aubergine puree or baba ganoush in some parts of the Middle East, is a simple, sensual dip I like to serve with plenty of warm pita bread and love.
What kind of eggplant should you use for this eggplant puree?
This recipe calls for Globe eggplant, also called American eggplant. It’s the purple-skinned variety you’re most likely to find at your grocery store or grow in your garden. Globe are the biggest and meatiest of all the eggplants. I use them in this recipe for one thing because they’re the easiest to find but also because this hearty eggplant is particularly easy to roast.
Choosing an eggplant
If you aren’t experienced in buying eggplant, you might not know what to get. Look for an eggplant that’s firm with no soft spots. Also, make sure there’s no wrinkling. Wrinkling and softness are indicators of age. And older eggplants tend to be more bitter. Bitter eggplant does not work well in this eggplant puree recipe.
Tips for roasting eggplant
Some recipes call for salting and draining your eggplant to reduce bitterness. I find this isn’t necessary if you choose the right eggplant. And since I like simple recipes, I recommend you start with a good product and go straight to roasting.
I roast my eggplant, cut side down on a baking sheet for 40 minutes. The flesh of the baked eggplant will become very soft and the flavor will evolve during roasting to have more rich, almost caramelized notes.
I like to serve this Mediterranean eggplant puree with warm, whole wheat pita bread cut into quarters, along with a side of olives. This vegetarian puree is meant to go with my bulghar salad as part of a light, vegetarian dinner. I don’t make my own pita to dip into the puree but if you’d like to try your hand at Mediterranean bread baking, King Arthur Flour offers a tried and true recipe on their website.
May this slightly exotic but decidedly romantic dish bring you many pleasurable date nights at home. Be sure to check out the cocktail I pair with it. It’s called The Aphrodisiac for a reason! And speaking of aphrodisiac, did you know that this pureed eggplant dish has some aphrodisiac properties of its own?
Some surprising aphrodisiac benefits of this eggplant recipe
While a roasted eggplant puree might not strike you as something to spark romance, not only does this dish offer nutrition key to sexual health, it’s packed with ingredients noted as an aphrodisiac. And that includes one of my favorites – it’s an ingredient that might surprise you. I’m talking about garlic. Here’s more information on garlic’s aphrodisiac reputation.
But eggplant itself is no slouch in the aphrodisiac department. You might be surprised to hear it but the eggplant was once considered an aphrodisiac. This fruit, and yes, it is a fruit, originated in southeast Asia. And it’s rich in several vitamins and minerals considered essential to sexual health, including potassium, vitamin B6 and manganese. It makes you look at roasted eggplant puree a little differently, doesn’t it?
Roasted Eggplant Puree
- 1 medium-sized, Globe eggplant
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and lightly score the surface. Sprinkle generously with salt and olive oil. Roast, cut side down, on cookie sheets for 40 minutes or until eggplants are very soft.
- Remove from oven and let cool. Scoop flesh from skin of eggplant and puree in food processor with garlic, lemon juice, tahini and parsley. While machine is on, slowly pour in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Chill or serve room temperature.
If you enjoy this pureed eggplant recipe, be sure to check out the rest of the Greek-inspired, romantic menu:
Diane Brown is the author of The Seduction Cookbook: Culinary Creations For Lovers
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