Charred? Eggplant? Soup? Sounds strange, but delicious
By Danielle Rehfeld
It may seem strange to have eggplant soup for dinner, but I guarantee this delicious nightshade mix will make a debut in your rolodex of recipes. The charred, peeled eggplant and blending techniques gives this puree a distinct smokiness.
The soup is also great for entertaining guests who have dietary restrictions. It is simply vegetables, olive oil and some aromatics.
In fact, a few years ago I discovered how delectable eggplant soup is while experimenting with healthy alternatives to potatoes for my dad, whose doctor told him to avoid starchy food because of his diabetes.
I squared off the eggplant with a knife, yielding 4 semi-curved, round slabs. I cut those into wedges and roasted them in the oven. The process left the fleshy, rectangular inside of the eggplant. On a whim, I cubed it up and cooked it in a pot with some olive oil, garlic and onions. After adding water, letting it simmer and pureeing the mixture, I realized that a soup made of eggplants should be no accident or afterthought.
I played with the ingredients over the years and discovered that a few things would take this soup to a new level. My first tip is to add a nice squeeze of lemon juice and some additional seasoning like cayenne pepper and salt. You can add a drizzle of raw tahini for added creaminess. Second, I’d suggest you char up some eggplant on the grill or in your broiler while your soup is cooking.
Charred eggplant soup
Serves 8 to 10.
good olive oil, as needed
4 large Italian or white/purple splotchy eggplants, firm to touch
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
6 large, smashed garlic cloves
kosher salt, as needed
2 Tbsp. raw tahini
juice of 1-2 lemons, as needed
1 large sprig thyme, plus 1 tsp. freshly picked thyme leaves
freshly cracked black pepper, for serving
Preheat the broiler or grill. Using a fork, poke 1 eggplant a few times all over. Place it directly over the fire if you are using a grill. If you are working with a broiler, line a sheet tray with foil, place the whole eggplant on top and put it about six inches from the fire source.