It’s grill season, and that means that mellow, familiar from childhood aroma of smoke is filling up the courtyard and soaking into your clothes and cooking food. This inimitable scent also carries with it a particular flavour that it gives off to veggies when they are baked. I can only describe it as “I am home” taste. Usually, when chefs want their food to imitate that effect, they use liquid smoke or smoky spices. But I, however arguable this statement might be, think that nothing can surpass an authentic grill. Infatuated with the smell, I was imagining all possible ways of infusing food with it during the season.
As always, it turned out that everything genius was simple.
There was a time when we travelled to Armenia, and that country momentarily won a special spot for itself in my heart. Flavours, so simple and so saturated, they captivated the tastebuds of someone raised on plastic tomatoes. That was Armenia that introduced a paste made of baked eggplants, garlic, greens and oil to me. An utterly astonishing and seemingly addictive one, also known there as baba ganoush. So recently, when my family decided to make some grilled vegetables and mushrooms for dinner, in a fit of inspiration I thought “Eggplant and mushrooms, what a great combo they’d make! Heat some pitas on cooling grill and it’s ready to be served”.
Are you really gonna eat mushroom baba ganoush rolled in hot pitas and topped with juicy herbs, while drinking red wine every day, you may ask? I won’t be able to respond I am afraid, being busy relishing every bite. But I will be able to point to where you can seat. By the way, did you bring more pitas and wine? Good guests never come empty-handed!
Food processor with ‘blades’ attachment
Big bowl for serving
3 moderate eggplants
300 gr champignon mushrooms
3-4 garlic cloves (finely minced)
40 ml olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Handful of fresh herds
Salt, pepper to taste
1) Prepare eggplants on the grill for 25-30 min, turning them occasionally
to make sure they are cooking evenly. You can tell they are ready when
a skewer inserts easily and comes out from the other side. You don’t
want to burn them, so choose a moderately-heated spot for cooking.
When done, peal them and throw away the skins.
2) To prepare mushrooms you will need to put them their flat sides facing
down and grill for 10-15 min. You don’t want to flip them, as you need
all the juices to accumulate in the area around the stem. When done,
carefully remove from fire to save as much liquid as possible.
3) Put aside a few mushrooms, a third of one eggplant and herbs. Chop,
salt lightly and leave until the final step.
4) In food processor ‘PULSE’ the rest of ingredients with blades to make
a paste. Don’t overrun it though, as you want the texture of vegetables
to partially remain.
5) Transfer into a big bowl, top with everything you’ve chopped in step
3, drizzle some oil and serve with hot pitas.