Saturday, September 28, 2013

Baba Ganoush - Blue Monday

Baba Ganoush is a vegetable dip that's very popular in the Arabic Middle East and other Mediterranean countries. It's a simple, inexpensive dish, and there are probably as many versions of it as there are kitchens in those countries. I don't mean to confuse the issue by posting yet another, but I wanted to record our family version of the dip in a spot where my girls can get to it when they need it. My version has a smoky flavor because it's grilled over an open flame, rather than being baked or broiled in an oven, as is the custom in some homes. This recipe also has some zip that comes from a fairly substantial addition of fresh lemon juice. There are several acceptable ways to garnish this dish. I tend to use what I have on hand, so, more often than not, I'll drizzle it with olive oil or sprinkle it with chopped flat-leaf parsley. When they are available I also love to use pomegranate seeds. I used to serve the dip with pita bread, but I have recently started to use still warm, freshly fried tortilla chips in their stead. It is not authentic, but it is delicious. Without further ado, here's the recipe for a dip or spread that is a wonderful accompaniment to a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean meal.

Baba Ganoush


1 large (1-pound) eggplant

3 cloves garlic

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Salt to taste

3 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, or 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


1) Prepare a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill. Puncture eggplant in several places with a fork. Grill for 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until skin is charred and eggplant is soft.

Cool until it can be handled. Cut eggplant in half and scrape pulp into a sieve. Hold under cold and gently running water. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from pulp.

2) Combine pulp, garlic, lemon juice and salt in bowl of food processor. Process until smooth. Add tahini and process just to incorporate. Adjust seasoning if required. With processor running, add olive oil, cumin and pepper. Transfer to a small serving bowl, cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Baba Ganoush can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Garnish and serve. Yield: 2 cups.

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