Friday, October 7, 2011

Grilled Baba Ghannouj with Chinese Eggplant and Zucchini

I was contacted by the people at Three Farmers in Saskatchewan (Canada) asking if I'd like a sample of their new oil from a seed called camelina. Rarely do I turn away free stuff, so I agreed, and several weeks later, a teeny, tiny package arrived at my door:

Clearly, this must be some hot stuff if they only sent me about a half a cup's worth of the stuff. I imagine it's related to the amount of processing required to render a high-quality cold-pressed oil. It's only available at high-end retail outlets such as Pusateri's and The Cheese Boutique. You can check their website for other places in the GTA and across Canada.

Camelina is what's referred to as an aincent grain. The oil itself is rich in omega fatty acids, has a slight nutty flavour and an earthy smell (Meredith: "it smells like dirt, but the food tasted so good with it!")

According to the Wikipedia article on camelina, the seed has been busy in areas like biofuel production and animal feed as well, so it's clearly starting to pick up again in terms of popularity, even if it's not in the human consumption department.

Three Farmers has some good ideas behind it - a small collective of farmers working together to make a specialized product. Neat from a technical standpoint: each bottle comes with a QR code to help geographically locate where the seeds were harvested from.

Anyway, the day the oil arrived, I was already preparing Meredith a nice meal of grilled vegetables and fish. With the addition of the oil, I decided to do something different using those ingredients. To use more of the oil, I decided to turn the vegetables into a baba ghannouj, and I also used the oil on the fish before grilling to help the spices stick around.

Salmon served with the baba ghannouj, a baked potato and
some of the Haggis and Herring's famous salad with
balsamic vinaigrette.
Both dishes turned out spectacular. The oil wasn't overpowering and blended well with the flavours.

Grilled Baba Ghannouj with Chinese Eggplant and Zucchini

3 Chinese eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 tbsp camelina oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
sea salt to taste
3 tbsp tehina
1/4 cup camelina oil
  1. Toss the sliced eggplant and zucchini in 1 tbsp oil
  2. Grill the eggplant and zucchini until soft on the inside and a bit crispy on the outside
  3. Quickly puree lemon juice, garlic and salt in food processor.
  4. Add tehina and camelina oil and puree again.
  5. Add eggplant pulp and puree until smooth.
Recipes by the Haggis and the Herring: tasty world recipes tested in our kitchen
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  1. that is so interesting that you can trace the origin of the seeds :)

  2. Love grilling veggies and interesting post regarding this new oil---will it be the new super food?

  3. Super food? I'm thinking "no." It'll probably keep its niche status at the high-end stores for now.


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