When I was in university, my roommate Lee used to exclaim "Babaghanoush!" whenever he realized something or even completed a task, kind of like you might use "Eureka!" or "Voilà!" At the time I had even more limited experience with international cuisine, and I thought Lee was just using a nonsense word. One day, while looking for hummus, I came across an unfamiliar product and sounded out the word on the label and had a similar "eureka!" moment when I realized I was looking at babaghanoush!
Today's fruit isn't an eggplant, but it does have lovely eggplant-coloured markings. I didn't buy the pepino melon on our first few trips to the grocery store, but I kept coming back to it. Its skin feels amazingly smooth and almost velvety, like a matte-finish photo.
I sliced it open and was surprised to find the inside hollow, with nary a seed in sight. The fruit itself is about an inch thick. It smelled sweet, like a ripe honeydew melon. When I cut off a smaller slice to try some, the skin peeled off easily, like that of a tomato that's been blanched. The texture is similar to a honeydew as well, and the first bite was sweet and mild and melony. As I finished the slice I identified a feint peppery aftertaste, and it suddenly occurred to me that pepino melon translates to pepper melon. Babaghanoush!
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