Creamy Eggplant Scooped Up with Flatbreads for the Win!
I make a really good eggplant spread. Over many years I’ve tweaked it in order to arrive at its current rendition. While I also like baba ghanoush, this one does not contain tahini. That’s a whole different animal.
I start by broiling a couple of eggplants until they’re good and charred and have collapsed. I test them to be sure they’re done by cutting away a little of the skin near the neck. If the flesh is nice and tender, then I know I’m good to go.
After they’ve cooled, I scoop out the flesh, put it into a colander and let it drain while I assemble the rest of my ingredients. I like it with some texture and keep it that way by chopping the eggplant rather than blitzing it in the food processor. Besides olive oil, I like to add some whole milk Greek yogurt for both creaminess and flavor. Lime juice, nigella seeds, black cardamom, oregano, Aleppo pepper, and sumac are the seasonings I use. None of them scream for attention, but they combine with the eggplant to make a beautifully nuanced dish.
I think it’s essential to have some fresh flatbread for scooping up the eggplant. While scrolling around and trying to decide which recipe I’d make, I happened upon this one from King Arthur. It’s called Ekmek, the Turkish word for bread, and it was new to me. Seeing as King Arthur says it’s perfect for eating with baba ghanoush, for which they include a recipe, I felt it would be perfect for my eggplant.
I used my dough mixing machine for kneading the dough, set it aside to rise, and got to work on my eggplant spread. After it rose, it was divided in two, rolled out into two 9 inch rounds and left to rise again for 30 minutes. At that point, an egg wash is brushed on top, plenty of sesame seeds are added (I used both black and white sesame seeds), the top is scored and it’s put in the oven to bake.
The ekmek turned out exactly as promised. It has a light and chewy crumb with a slight sweetness of flavor from some honey which is added to the dough, is crisp on the top and bottom, and has plenty of nuttiness and crunch from the sesame seeds. Both the flavor and texture perfectly complimented the eggplant.
There was plenty of oohing and aahing as we tore off pieces of the warm bread and dunked it in the eggplant. I froze one loaf and heated it up the next day to eat with the leftovers and it was as good as when it first came out of the oven. The bread and eggplant went perfectly with the roast chicken I served. Oh, man, this kind of meal is really hard to beat.