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I like to make roasted eggplant/aubergine for baba gahanouj, bharta (etc.) on coals that impart a wonderful smoky flavour.  I've had good success doing it in a barbecue (actually a Big Green Egg).  So, now that it's winter, I thought "why not try it in the fireplace, after the fire has burnt down to glowing coals?" I cut a few slits in the eggplant so that it wouldn't explode, did NOT wrap it in foil, thinking that would just seal out the smoky flavour, and popped it into the fireplace (with glass doors) for 15 min.  It came out looking good, perhaps a little under-cooked, but basically OK.  The taste was TERRIBLE -  very strong flavour of fire place ash.  I only had a couple of bites, despite my Methodist ancestors looking disapprovingly over my shoulder, because it really was bad.  So has anyone else tried this?  I'd like to make it work.  Should the eggplant be wrapped in foil? Should I wait until the coals have died down further?  Does it depend on the type of wood? This was mainly aspen - crappy firewood at best, but it was free (Methodist ancestors won this time.).

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I tried it at least once, and have tried it over an open campfire more then once.  I don't recall having problems with an overly ashy taste, but I have often had problems with the whole darned thing collapsing so much that there was only a crispy shell!  Heat too high, or cooked too long, I figured. If you laid the eggplant on the bare coals, I'd suggest putting it in a pan on the coals next time and elevating it slightly.  If you don't want to dirty a pan in the ash, you could make a bowl of that foil. Sorry, I can't guarantee that this will appease your ancestors, since I'm speculating. :)

 

 

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19 hours ago, KootenayCook said:

I like to make roasted eggplant/aubergine for baba gahanouj, bharta (etc.) on coals that impart a wonderful smoky flavour.  I've had good success doing it in a barbecue (actually a Big Green Egg).  So, now that it's winter, I thought "why not try it in the fireplace, after the fire has burnt down to glowing coals?" I cut a few slits in the eggplant so that it wouldn't explode, did NOT wrap it in foil, thinking that would just seal out the smoky flavour, and popped it into the fireplace (with glass doors) for 15 min.  It came out looking good, perhaps a little under-cooked, but basically OK.  The taste was TERRIBLE -  very strong flavour of fire place ash.  I only had a couple of bites, despite my Methodist ancestors looking disapprovingly over my shoulder, because it really was bad.  So has anyone else tried this?  I'd like to make it work.  Should the eggplant be wrapped in foil? Should I wait until the coals have died down further?  Does it depend on the type of wood? This was mainly aspen - crappy firewood at best, but it was free (Methodist ancestors won this time.).

 

I sympathize on the Methodist ancestors; I tried to tell my Methodist parents they could send my greens to the starving children, but that was a non-starter.

 

I would see if I could rig some way to elevate the eggplant, obviously in a pan, higher above the coals. Might also have something to do with the amount of ash buildup in your fireplace. Do you have a tripod like one uses over a campfire to suspend a Dutch oven? If so, you could use that without the top. 

 

 

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Was the aubergine overly bitter after roasting?

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11 hours ago, JohnT said:

Was the aubergine overly bitter after roasting?

 

No, not at all, as I drained off all the liquid.  I also forgot to mention in my original post that I was meticulous about getting the cooked pulp out without any ash or burnt bits of skin. So the acrid flavour wasn't through contamination.

 

@kayb Thanks for the suggestion.  Will try that. I actually put the eggplant in the glowing coals, which is what I've done with the bbq and had good results.  Our fireplace has a grate - I can make sure all the ash is down below and the coals are not touching the eggplant; so no need for a special contraption.

 

I'm thinking it might be the type of wood & will try it again with maple, when the pile in my woodshed gets down that far.

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Definitely the wood.

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I asked about a bitter flavour as you normally get that with an aubergine that is not fresh. They really need to be cooked as soon after harvesting as possible. However, yours, you say, was not. As has been said by @Captain, it really looks like the burnt wood imparted that flavour into yours. I cannot pass comment on your fire wood as you folk use totally different woods than what I would use where I am. However, I do know that certain woods used here in indoor fireplaces for heating, cannot be used for any type of cooking. And never use any type of treated wood for cooking - it will impart a terrible taste to your cooked food and most likely make you very ill.

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 fireplace (with glass doors) ???? sitting glowing coals>>>

 

Were you smoking the eggplant or burning it?

 

1- Eggplant should not be in direct contact with the heat source, in this case glowing coals.

2- Eggplant should not be in an enclosed glass doors thingy

3- Eggplant should not be cut or scored. Simply pricking with a fork.

4- Never tried it from wood but always from coal and most of the time from a open gas hob flame and some people use the oven grill.

 

For the record, the Baba Ghanouj recipe is unfortunately incorrect as it is using Lemon for sourness.

Eggplant pulp with Tahineh and Lemon++ correct name is Batenjan Mtabal and the full name is Batenjan Mtabal bel Thineh.

Baba Ghanouj is different as the sourness is from Pomegranate juice with Tehinah.

 

Baba Ghanouj translation is Father for Baba and Baba is also used as sometimes derogatory and some time in a patronizing manner.

Ghanouj is what you say to a pampered child. Pamper=Spoil=Cuddle

Ghanouj is not someone name (I guess I need to correct Wikipedia on that).

Baba Ghanouj correct translation is a Father's cuddle.

 

Today, people use either names for the Lemony version which is a sad state of affairs. I prefer the original with Pomegranate freshly squeezed juice.

Two completely different tastes and people started substituting Lemon instead of Pomegranate for the simple lack and difficulty, cost and sourcing Pomegranate in times gone by.

A plea to all readers, do remember that such recipes were created in ancient or old times where cooking had to follow the seasons harvest and location. Food recipes were created during each particular season. Albeit not anymore the case today and substituting elements in a recipe falls under the guise of creativity or sheer incompetence.

 

This is how age old great recipes are expropriated and ruined by neighboring cultures and countries.

 

 

 

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