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Bill Watterson, if you see this, you should know I love you.

I don’t know where eggplant gets its bad rep. Maybe it’s because I never had it growing up, and so have only ever had it on my own terms and cooked to my own taste (see also: Brussels sprouts) (also, why aren’t they called Belgian sprouts?); or maybe the whole gross-eggplant thing is a myth that I took too seriously. On the weekend, while pursuing babaganoush, my brain got derailed by other possibilities. Other, equally delicious and eggplanty opportunities! Behold the gloriously-roasted eggplant. Just eggplant, olive oil, salt:


They were so silky and delicious, with a hint of caramelisation on the surface, I wanted to hide them in the fridge and tell the folks who were coming over that there was to be no eggplant on the menu that night. Then we would have all made jokes about how awful eggplant is and then made excuses to weep in private. But I toughened up and decided to share my bounty and made an awesome dip/spread thing. And now, through the wonder of technology, you can too!

I briefly considered using them as a table centrepiece.

Whirr 75g of toasted, unsalted cashews in a food processer with some salt, pepper, cumin, maybe a little ground coriander, until you have a fine crumble but not quite a paste. Then throw in some roasted eggplant flesh, scraped from the skins — I used three roasted Asian eggplants, the little narrow ones — and a drizzle of olive oil. Whirr in the processor some more until you have a smooth, thick paste. You could throw in some flat-leafed parsley, or some chilli, or anything else that tickles your fancy. Then maybe stand around awhile and think about how much you love eggplants, and feel the warm glow of smugness.  Picture yourself nodding knowingly when people say they don’t like eggplant, and practice replying “yeah…they’re not for everyone, of course…” with a very slight smile. The key is the sacred quadrinity of eggplant, cashews, olive oil and salt. Mmmmmm. I’ve been having this on salad sandwiches all week and it’s unbelievable.

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