My first taste of baba ghannouj was at the cafeteria on the Saudi Aramco compound in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and I could easily make a lunch out of their hummus, baba ghannouj, and flatbread. Baba ghannouj is a traditional Middle Eastern dish made from eggplant that has been grilled or roasted, and the smoky flavor carries over to this simple dip that’s popular all over the Middle East. Depending on where you eat, it will probably have eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, olive oil, and parsley, and may also have chopped tomatoes, cumin, mint, onions, yogurt, or mayonnaise. So consider this a base recipe, a jumping off point to play with and have fun experimenting with the flavors.
I wish the eggplant came from our garden, but after three years of fighting pests that devour the plants, we finally decided that eggplant just wasn’t a good fit for our garden. Fortunately our homegrown garlic and parsley do add some good flavor to the dish. I hope you’ll join us for the third anniversary of Grow Your Own this month! Posts are due on August 31 and should be sent to me at andreasrecipesgyo AT gmail DOT com. You can find more information at the Grow Your Own page.
BABA GHANNOUJ (BABA GANOUSH)
Adapted from The Complete Middle East Cookbook, by Tess Mallos.
1 eggplant (12 ounces/375 g)
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sesame tahini
2 cloves garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 sprigs parsley
1. Pierce the eggplant in a few places, then grill the whole eggplant for about 30 to 40 minutes over medium hot coals, turning about every 7 minutes. Peel the skin off while it’s still hot and remove the stem end, then rough chop the flesh. Place it in a colander and drain out the liquid.
2. Add the flesh to the work bowl of the food processor and puree it. Add the lemon juice and tahini and pulse a few times until well mixed.
3. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt. Process well and add more lemon juice and salt to taste.
4. Add the olive oil and parsley, processing until the parsley is chopped but still visible.
5. Serve in a shallow dish garnished with parsley. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Roast the eggplant in a 400° F/220° C oven.