Said no one ever.
This week's I Heart Cooking Clubs theme is "Nuts & Seeds." I'm using pine nuts...an ingredient that's referred to as a nut, but is really a seed.
See how that worked out all nice and neat?
My garden has recently decided to crank out all of its eggplant. At one time. We've made Eggplant Parmesan. We've made ratatouille. Grilled eggplant sandwiches. I needed a new idea. Preferably one that wouldn't use the oven. And wouldn't require me to run to the store.
Along comes Yotam Ottolenghi's Aubergine & Parsley Pesto. I had everything...or could make do. The recipe uses Ottolenghi's "burnt aubergine" method. All my IHCC buddies are raving about it and my friend Sue @ Couscous & Consciousness adapted this method for the grill. (No running the oven when the heat index is 107 F. Thank you, Sue!)
Everything came together in one perfect package.
Ottolenghi suggests using this pesto for pasta or bruschetta.
I really, really liked this. The eggplant was creamy and incredibly smoky. It lended almost a meaty flavor and texture to the pesto.
The guys did not like it. One thought it looked gross. The other really wanted more ratatouille. Oh well. It worked for me.
The original recipe can be found HERE.
My pine nut supply was a little short--I used a mix of pine nuts and pecans from my freezer. My parsley is being taken over by butterfly larvae, so I had to use a mix of parsley and basil. Pecorino would have required an hour drive. Parmesan required a couple of steps.
Aubergine and Parsley Pesto
adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi
4 medium aubergines
1/3 c pine nuts
1/3 cup pecans or walnuts
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3/4 c parsley leaves
1 sprig basil
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
heaping 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a grill to medium high. Cut a few slashes into the skin of the aubergines and place on the hot grill. Grill for about 20 minutes, turning, until the skins have turned black and charred. When cool enough to handle, remove the charred skins and place the flesh in a colander to drain.
Place the pine nuts, pecans or walnuts, garlic, parsley, basil, and oregano in a food processor. Process until well chopped. Add the oil and process until the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the cheese and aubergine flesh. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be stored in the refrigerator, well sealed, for five days.
Serve tossed into pasta or on top of toasted bread.