Baba ghanoush, the smoky, eggplant cousin of hummus, is perfect for your outdoor BBQs this summer. While not as quick to make as its chickpea brethren, I like baba ghanoush more – especially this recipe, which yields a smoky, complex dip.
|Eggplants with charred, crackly skin|
I prefer to use Japanese eggplants because they tend to have less moisture than the typical globe variety, but both work well. The key is to seriously char the skins of the eggplants until they are black and crackly, a process that infuses the smoke flavor into the eggplants.
The best way to accomplish this is to place the eggplants directly in the flame, either in a charcoal or gas grill, or directly on a gas burning stove top. You can also broil them in the top shelf of a gas-burning broiler.
After you burn the skin off the eggplants, remove any remaining skin and drain out the excess moisture. I prefer to hand-chop the eggplant flesh, but you can also use a food processor or blender if you want a smoother dip. Combine with a good amount of tahini, lemon juice, and roasted or raw garlic. Serve with pita.
Smoky Baba Ghanoush
4 Japanese or medium sized globe eggplants
1/4 cup or to taste tahini
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2-4 cloves garlic, raw or roasted, minced
2 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley or smoked paprika for garnish (optional)
1. Char the eggplants either directly on your gas stove, in the flame of a gas or charcoal grill, or on the top shelf of your broiler. Turn every few minutes so that the entire eggplant is charred. Remove when skin is black and crackly.
2. Allow charred eggplants to cool. Then remove as much of the skin as you can – it’s okay if there’s some left. Place eggplant flesh in a mesh strainer or colander and drain for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, roast the garlic if you’d like. Place the unpeeled cloves in a dry pan on medium heat, rotating every few minutes. When they looked charred (though not as much as the eggplants did), remove, allow to cool, peel, and then mince.
4. Mince the drained eggplant flesh and combine in a bowl with tahini, lemon juice, the garlic, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine and adjust the seasonings to taste. Right before serving add olive oil and top with smoked paprika or parsley. Serve with good pita.
Total time: 30 minutes
Makes 4 servings