Baba Ganoush

It has become a Sunday ritual to make Baba Ganoush. We sort of stumbled on it: it is a recipe in one of my toddler's favorite books and she loved the name. So we made it one Sunday evening, and everyone - papa, toddler, baby and mama - loved it. We have continued making it, tweaking it here and there until landing on this recipe that is easy to remember and everyone loves.


What is Baba Ganoush? At its simplest, it is a dip, best eaten with toasted bread or pita. It is made with only a handful of ingredients so I suggest using the freshest, best quality ones you can find.


There are two very important steps you must not skip:

  1. Char the eggplant fully. Really blacken it, until the skin shrivels and wrinkles. Do this over the flame on a gas stove (my preferred method), on a grill, or directly nestled into hot coals. Doing this gives it complexity, smokiness and depth. You could also use the broiler setting in your oven although it won't be as smoky. If you don't have access to any of these and are in a pinch use 2 tsp of smoked paprika; it'll still be good but not as superb.

  2. Strain the eggplant FULLY. After it finishes roasting scoop out flesh, give it a chop (the finer you chop the more liquid you'll get out of it), and let it sit in a colander for at least 10 minutes but ideally close to 30. Otherwise your Baba Ganoush will be watery and bitter.


The final texture is really up to you: you can make it as chunky or as smooth as you'd like. I prefer mine smooth and spreadable.


If you are using a gas stove, lining the burners with foil will make cleanup a little easier. Make sure you turn on the exhaust vents so your smoke alarm doesn't go off.


I make this with a rule of “3s” - 3 of each ingredient - and it’s made it super easy to make every week. Once you make it once, forget about the exact recipe and instead play around until you find the proportions that work for you and for the ingredients you have that day. Have extra large eggplants? Add a tablespoon or so to everything. Like it extra garlicy? Use more garlic cloves! Looking for a thicker dip? Increase the tahini.



BABA GANOUSH


INGREDIENTS

2-3 medium eggplants

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp tahini paste (stir if oil has separated out)

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1-3 cloves of garlic, skin on

1 tsp salt

1/3 tsp smoked paprika (optional, more if not charring eggplants)

fresh or dried parsley for garnish


Preheat oven to 425F.


Pierce your eggplants all over with a knife. On a gas stove, place the eggplants directly on the grates over the open flame. Roast, turning with tongs, until charred all over. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil along side garlic, and roast for 20 minutes until the eggplant is thoroughly softened and cooked.


Once it is soft, remove from oven and let it cool slightly until you can handle it. Separate skin from flesh (it should be easy to separate) and scoop out the eggplant. Place in a colander, give it a rough chop, and let it strain for at least 10 minutes, ideally 15 - 30 min (or more).


Meanwhile make the sauce: peel the roasted garlic and add in a mini food processor with tahini, olive oil, lemon, salt and smoked paprika (if using). Blitz until smooth and combined.


Working in batches as needed, add the strained eggplant along with more salt. Blitz until it reaches the texture you like.


Transfer to a bowl and top with with parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle with zaatar or dukkak, or even smoked paprika for color. Serve with pita bread or any toasted bread of your liking.






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