Baba Ganoush is a popular Middle Eastern spread that you can easily make at home. The classic version is made with roasted eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon, olive oil and spices.
After you char the eggplants, you simply bake them on a baking sheet until they are meltingly soft inside. You slit them open, which feels a bit like a violation, but it’s the only way to get the softened eggplant into your dip. You can see from the picture that eggplant flesh comes in subtly different colors: don’t worry, your dip will invariably be brownish-purplish-gray.
You scoop out all of that flesh, whatever its color, and transfer it to a big mixing bowl. That leaves behind a collage of burnt eggplant skin.
Finally, you proceed pretty much as if you were making hummus, except that you don’t stick the eggplants in the food processor. Comparative recipe analysis shows that some people actually do go for the puree, but I find nothing more pleasurable than a big chunk of eggplant in my baba ganoush, just as I love my guacamole punctuated by big pieces of delicious avocado.
Makes about 4 cups
3 medium eggplants
1 large clove garlic, minced to a paste with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons tahini
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1-2 lemons
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Using the burners on your gas stove, char the eggplants over a medium-high flame for 3-5 minutes each, turning to char each side equally. Don’t worry if they look quite burnt. You can also do this on a grill or under the broiler.
Prick each eggplant 5 times with a paring knife. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, then bake for 25-30 min, until the eggplants are very soft. The skin should be wrinkled.
Let the eggplants cool for about 15 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Slit them open and scoop out the flesh, leaving all the skin behind. Transfer the flesh to a bowl. Using two spoons, break up the eggplant so no piece is bigger than bite-sized. This should be super easy since the eggplant’s so soft. But try not to completely smush it to a puree.
Add the minced garlic, tahini, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and the juice of 1 lemon. Stir to distribute–you’ll watch the dip get creamy as you stir. Taste for balance of flavors, adding more olive oil, lemon juice, or salt to taste. Serve as is, let cool to room temperature, or store in the fridge and eat cold.
Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped green herbs.