A creamy dip this eggplant pesto is a cross between an aioli and a pesto. Given flavour from creamy, baked eggplant and flavour from basil, nuts and cheese it is the best of both worlds in a dip. It is also terrifically addictive.
I have several fears in life, most of which don't make sense. They include and are not limited to:
Running out of food. Which is why our pantries and fridge are bursting with food. Sorry did you read that as panties? I did.
Being mauled to death by a lion or a shark - okay not likely to happen but sometimes I think that there may be a chance if I fall from a plane into a safari park in South Africa into the jaws of a lion or in the ocean where, well you get my drift...
Worms and snakes. No, just no. Those bodies....urgh. I once told Mr NQN that I thought that worms in worm farms were going to take over the world. Even as a child I refused to touch my mum's Glomesh bag handle because it reminded me of an earthworm. You know, funnily enough, I didn't have loads of friends as a child...
Being given fruit for dessert. Related to the hashtag #thisiswhyyourefat
I kid, well sort of. For me, while I like fruit as a snack, it doesn't really make it as dessert unless it is baked in something or served with ice cream, cream or thick yogurt. So while I can go for a week without eating fruit unless it is cake form, vegetables are another thing. You see I absolutely love vegetables. Our crisper is actually not big enough to fit the vegetables that we buy every week. Of course eggplant is technically a fruit and part of the nightshade family like tomatoes but many see it as a vegetable.
It was on a recent lunch out that I was served an eggplant pesto. It was deliciously creamy, almost like an aioli with a basil and eggplant flavour. It was so good that I wanted to make it for myself. I thought back to an eggplant dip that I've made in the past using a eggplant baked whole so that the filling is lusciously creamy in texture. After baking it, it really just a matter of blending everything and making a quick aioli with all of the ingredients giving this something between an aioli and pesto. And for those of you with an abundance of basil and eggplant in your garden, I hope this recipe comes in handy!
So tell me Dear Reader, what is your biggest fear? Do you have a favourite fruit? And do you have an abundance of anything in your garden or market at the moment?
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
- 1 medium sized eggplant
- 2 small cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 cup pine nuts or cashews, toasted
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 2 egg yolks*
- 1.5-2 cups mild flavoured oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
*Always use fresh eggs for mayonnaises and aiolis as the eggs will remain raw
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 200C/400F and line a baking tray with parchment. Wash the eggplant and prick a few holes in it with a knife (so that it doesn't explode). Bake for 50 minutes to an hour until soft and the skin is wrinkled. Cool.
Step 2 - Process the garlic, nuts, cheese and basil. Remove skin and scrape the eggplant flesh and add this to the blender and process until quite smooth. Add the egg yolks and the oil in four batches making sure to process well between additions so that it becomes very smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.