This Smoked Eggplant with Yoghurt Sauce and crunchy Pinenuts is one of my favourite side dishes.
I’ve been craving this Smoked Eggplant with Yoghurt Sauce and Pinenuts for weeks. Part of the reason I made it was a visit to my favourite store in Glebe, The Galluzzo family Greengrocers.
It was possibly the first store I ever visited when I moved to Glebe in 1992 and really not much has changed since then. There’s still friendly banter and bountiful isles of produce each has a sign with price or origin. The shelves and the lay out are the same but now Damian and Jo are the third generation to run the store. It’s a little slice of another more wholesome time when Frank, their Dad stocked local and exotic produce others never dared. When all the other greengrocers stores had all the same standard fruit and vegetables, Frank was developing relationships with growers in the market. He bought small yield crops and tried new things and the shelves were groaning with local produce. I remember being able to buy sorrel and the baby vegetables that were all the rage in restaurants.
When I asked Damian what he thought was at it’s best at the moment, he mentioned Eggplants and my mind went straight to the Smoked Eggplant with Yoghurt Sauce. As usual the interesting information wasn’t limited to that. Damian told me these eggplants are grown in Penrith, Western Sydney, that surprised me. Did you know there is a difference between field grown and glasshouse grown Eggplants?. These are grown in a glass house and this produces eggplants with less seeds than field grown ones. This makes them a little more expensive and they are in higher demand for restaurants. I love the information you get out of a visit here. So I bought the glasshouse eggplants.
I had a small catering business in the 90’s and the Galluzzos looked after me. That was when Frank and his wife Melina ran the shop. Frank advised me what was available at the market when I wrote my menus. I’d just had my business cards made up and he took one from me and opened me a wholesale account . ” Food Fetish eh?.” “Do you need me to deliver?” This thrilled me no end. He took my tiny orders quite seriously. They’d arrive first thing fresh from the Sydney markets, right to my door.
The history of this family is on display wherever you look and it underscores the reason I love coming here. Its actually a little daunting to think that Damian who now runs the shop was only just born when I was first a customer. ( Sssh!).
“Which one will I choose? I don’t have any idea which one is ripe. ” says the lady with the blonde hair to Steve who has worked here for years. He stops his work stacking avocados into a perfectly proportioned pyramid and walks over to the mangoes.
“The thing with mangoes,” he says ” is that you really don’t have to squeeze them all”.
He asks her to pick one up gently and look at the stalk stump on the rounded base.
“If the stalk is a little loose, if it looks plump or has any sweet juice around it then the Mango is ripe. That’s all you need to know. Would you like me to choose one for you? ” he says. And then. “Give me a yell when you have finished and I’ll carry it to the car for you”
It’s been like this since I can remember. The isles are full of people buying or the shelves are being restocked by Lin the handsome Chinese gentlemen who has worked here for over 20 years. I ask the lady at the counter exactly how long it’s been and she says no one is quite sure. It’s not until you walk in and take a look at the colourful shelves full of the freshest ingredients that you realise this shop may look old but there is nothing stale about it.
Black Russian tomatoes. Perfectly ripe. Steve helping the customers and delivering to the car.
But back to the Smoked Eggplant with Yoghurt Sauce. Have you smoked an eggplant at home before? (disclaimer, that does sound a bit leading….). You just need a BBQ if you don’t have a gas stove like I do. This is a very simple dish, but made with fresh eggplant and this easy way to smoke, it is so much more than the sum of it’s parts. You can eat it as a side dish or as an entree (appetiser). I dug into it with some gluten free crackers (because that’s all I had), but this is incredibly good with some fresh flat bread. There is enough yoghurt dressing to add more as you need it, but to make myself look civilised I only added half to the plate. Give this a go and don’t forget to watch the video!
- 2 medium eggplants
- 2 small ripe tomatoes diced (I used Russian Black tomatoes)
- 50 gram pinenuts, toasted
- 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
- 2 Tablespoons tahini
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 20 ml lemon juice , (1 Tablespoon)
- 80 ml water (4 tablespoons)
- 250 gm yoghurt, creamy plain (1 cup )
- 20 ml Olive oil (1 Tablespoon)
- salt and pepper
- Put the eggplants onto a burner on high or onto the grill of a BBQ on medium to high heat.
- Leave the eggplant till it is nice and black and charring and turn so it is done on all sides. I like to pop the eggplant (or two) once done into the oven for 10 minutes till it is creamy and soft inside. * you can leave it on the BBQ on a tray with the lid down too*
- Leave on the tray to cool a little while you make the sauce
- Make the Sauce by putting the tahini, lemon, water, and spices into a jar and shaking. Once combined open it up and add the yoghurt and shake till well combined.
- Lay the peeled eggplant on a platter and season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Add the chopped herbs, sauce, tomatoes and pinenuts. Pass extra sauce
- Serve this with flat bread or crackers. It makes a great entree or appetiser.
It’s always so nice to be able to shine the light on great businesses. Here’s a little history about the Galluzzo’s Greengrocers in Glebe.MKS has no affiliation with Galluzzos. It’s just fun to shop there!