This week, as the terrible wintry mix swirled outside, I needed powerful flavors, medicinal plants, and tinctures for protection. Imagine me crouched in my smoky, fiery kitchen, cackling a song to my knives.
Bones will crack,
Skin turns black.
Fire and pare,
Grind with flair.
‘Til I munch
On my lunch!
Here’s what the incantation looks like on a plate. Pretty ominous, right?
Let’s break down my little spell. What we’ve got here is roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli with anchovy dressing, and baba ganoush (Mediterranean eggplant dip) stuffed in bell peppers.
Bones will crack: Pulverize 3 anchovies with salt and garlic into a pungent paste. Best accomplished with mortar and pestle.
Skin turns black: Set a large eggplant directly over the open flame on your stove top and char, turning with tongs until all the skin is blackened. You could broil it instead – either way, you must let it get fully charred to achieve a delicious smoky flavor. Then throw it in the oven at about 450 to finish cooking through.
Fire and pare: Spritz broccoli florets lightly with olive oil and bake in a single layer alongside the eggplant until tender. Halve the sweet potatoes, poke holes in them with a fork, and bake those too. When potatoes and eggplant are very soft, take them out to cool. The peels should slip off easily.
Grind with flair: Whirl the skinned eggplant in a food processor with a couple tablespoons each of tahini (sesame paste) and olive oil, a small clove of garlic, and lemon juice to taste. Voila! Baba ganoush! Mash the sweet potatoes with nothin’ but panache (and a fork).
Ravage plants: Halve a raw sweet bell pepper and slop in some baba ganoush, then sprinkle in chopped fresh parsley. With the anchovy-garlic paste, whisk vinegar or lemon juice, more parsley, and olive oil, and toss with the roasted broccoli.
Savage dance: …of flavor…in my mouth! Also by me, in my kitchen, as usual.
‘Til I munch on my lunch! From the smoky garlic-lemon acidity of the eggplant dip to the sweet, soft potato, this plate is full of contrasting textures and flavors to chase any type of lunch demon away!