Grilled Baby Eggplants with Date Syrup and Tehina

by Sarah on May 12, 2010

orchid israel

eggplant colored bee orchid (Ophrys apifera) from the Carmel Mountains

I am a terrible shopper. My shopping list immediately goes out the window as soon as I see something beautiful…. Mounds of cherries like the treasure hoards of pirates, crates of saturated red tomatoes or eggplants cloaked in burgundy.

At home I am confronted with more produce then I can possibly use and too few mouths to consume it all, even after bringing over the excess to my neighbors. I have cut back dramatically in the last few months but every once in awhile I still do some spontaneous cooking, in this case half a dozen baby eggplants.

baby eggplants

Although eggplants, indigenous of South-East Asia, are a basic part of the Turkish, Persian and Arab diet, Europeans took much longer to incorporate it, believing it to cause insanity. This is partly true; nobody can argue that the Turks are crazy for eggplants.

grilling baby eggplants

grilled baby eggplant

grilled baby eggplants

Grilled Baby Eggplants

This is a version of baba deconstructed (baba ganoush), made popular through Janna Gur’s cookbook on Israeli food. It has become a common item in restaurants throughout the country.

6-7 baby eggplants

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons date syrup

2 teaspoons mustard

1 tomato, finely chopped

3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

Tehina sauce

1/4 cup tehina (sesame paste)

2 tablespoons date syrup

salt

Mix the olive oil, date syrup and mustard. Cut the eggplants lengthwise and brush the surface with the marinade. Grill the underside until golden and then flip. Brush the surface with more marinade and continue grilling until the flesh is soft, about 10 minutes.

Mix the tehina with the date syrup. Add a few tablespoons of water and mix to form a creamy sauce. Add salt to taste. Top the eggplants with the tehina, chopped tomatoes and parsley.  For variety you can also add pomegranate seeds, herbs, hot pepper and green onions. I also made another version with a honey, olive oil and tamarind concentrate glaze with honey, tamarind tehina and toasted almonds.

baby eggplant

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