Alkyoni, my sis, is an amazing cook; she is not a big dessert person (whaaa? it infuriates me just writing about it. Eat some cake!) but (on the brighter side) she loves making delicious salads, hearty breakfasts and simple mouth-drooling asian dishes. What’s more so, I think her slight OCD kicks in when she cooks and also helps her with food presentation: the dishes she makes never look over the top or unnecessarily whimsical or complicated; they are simple yet satisfying, with every ingredient’s colours and shape shining through.
Her favourite summer vegetable is aubergines: she cooks them often and in every possible way (especially when we‘re at our vacation home, where there’s an abundance of chubby, perfectly purple, perfectly shiny aubergines), but I think my favourite is her baba ganoush.
She makes it chunky and smokey, not too garlicky, with lots of fragrant cumin and fresh parsley. It’s not groundbreaking, but it incorporates some of my favourite flavours (tahini! parsley! lemon juice!); this last time she prepared it (the way she just casually laid it out on the table for me and our friends upon my arrival in Athens, served thin slices of sourdough bread, fiery radishes and olives on the side), she just made my night and kickstarted a summer filled with delicious food, crispy wine and chatty nights with friends and family. Taste the baba ganoush, feel the love.
INGREDIENTS (for a medium-sized bowl)
3 large aubergines
3 garlic cloves
2-3 tablespoons tahini paste
2 teaspoons cumin
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for brushing the aubergines
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Cut the aubergines lengthwise.
Pierce the skin on several spots with a fork, rub the flesh with a bit of sea salt and brush with olive oil.
Place the aubergines on a baking sheet flat side down and bake until soft, about 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, mince the garlic and mix with the tahini paste, cumin, olive oil, lemon juice and parsley (reserving some for garnish). Place in a medium bowl.
Take the aubergines out of the oven, let them cool so they are easy to handle and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. Smash with a fork (or in a food processor if you want the mixture to be smooth- I like chunky bits and also often can’t be bothered with cleaning a food processor) and add to the rest of the ingredients.
Mix well to incorporate.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and add extra lemon juice and/or olive oil to taste. Top with the remaining parsley.