Monday, September 24, 2007
Baba Ganoush I
By Jamie Stolper @ 3:45 PM :: 6930 Views :: 867 Comments :: :: All, Salads, Entrees / Main Courses, Holidays, Pareve, Vegetarian

Baba Ganoush I

 

Jamie Stolper

 

In response to requests in our Food Forum, I experimented a little to find a good Baba Ganoush recipe.  Baba Ganoush is a popular Middle Eastern spread or dip, made primarily with eggplant and tahini (sesame seed sauce).  This is one of those dishes that can be made with a variety of seasonings and with varying amounts as well, according to the taste of the cook.  There really is no need to measure precisely, although I have included specific amounts in the two versions included in our recipe file (our staff was split on their favorite!).  Baba Ganoush I is lighter and more lemony than Baba Ganoush II – it has more tahini, lemon juice, and garlic, plus a touch of za'atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend.  Baba Ganoush II has less tahini and lemon juice, and therefore has a stronger eggplant flavor.  I've also added some cumin to this version.  Both are very good and surprisingly easy to make, even given the cooking and peeling of the eggplant.  This is an excellent appetizer or first course – it is tasty, healthy, and can be made in advance.  It is inexpensive too, as one eggplant will go a long way, but certainly double this recipe if you are having a crowd.  Baba Ganoush is usually served with cut-up pieces of pita bread.  You can serve it in a bowl or, as in traditional Middle Eastern presentations, spread it on a plate and drizzle it with olive oil.

 

 

Ingredients

 

1 large eggplant (1 – 1 1/4 pounds)
3/4 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon za'atar
Salt to taste
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, as a garnish
Pita bread, for dipping

 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Prick the eggplant all over with a fork or sharp knife and place on an oiled cookie sheet.  Bake for about 40 minutes, turning occasionally so that all sides brown.  The eggplant will look like it has deflated, and juices may run out onto the pan.  Instead of baking, you can also broil the eggplant close to the heat source, turning every few minutes to make sure it is cooked through evenly.  The eggplant should be quite soft.  Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes.  (I let it cool almost completely, as it is easier to handle then.)

Next you need to separate the skin from the soft inside flesh.  You can either peel off the skin and discard or you can cut the eggplant in half and scoop out the flesh with a grapefruit spoon.  Some recipes call for mashing the eggplant with a fork, but I just put it in a food processor.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the salt and parsley, and process until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings, including salt.

Store the baba ganoush in the refrigerator and serve either cold or at room temperature.  Place in a bowl and sprinkle with the finely chopped parsley.  Or spread the baba ganoush in a platter, drizzle a little more olive oil over the top, sprinkle with the parsley, and garnish with some dark olives for contrast.  Don't forget the pita!

 
Jamie Stolper is the Food Editor of ShalomBoston.com