Baba Ghanoush

It’s summertime, and my CSA box is starting to fill with eggplant. What do I do with it? I make baba ghanoush, the Middle Eastern eggplant dip.
*And then I make tian Provencal, once I get tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant at the same time. And…that’s the extent of my eggplant recipes. Any eggplant suggestions? Anyone? Bueller? Leave them in the comments, because even with the current drought, I’ll get pounds of mixed eggplant with my CSA box for the next month or two.

This recipe is remarkably close to hummus. All I do is replace chickpeas with fire-roasted eggplant. This isn’t a quick recipe – it takes at least a half an hour for the eggplant to completely cook – but it is low maintenance. Cook the eggplant until it the skin is completely burnt, and the eggplant collapses on itself. Turn it every now and again, when you feel like it – burning the skin only adds flavor. The eggplant should look like a deflated blimp right before you take it off the grill.

Recipe: Baba Ghanoush


Inspired by: Alton Brown, Baba Ghannouj

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, poked a few times with a fork
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Instructions

1. Grill the eggplant over high heat:
Set the grill up for high heat. Put the eggplant directly over the heat and grill, turning occasionally, until the eggplant deflates and the skin is entirely blackened, 30 to 40 minutes.

Eggplant on the grill
…thirty minutes later…

2. Puree the baba ghanoush:
Drop the garlic cloves in a running food processor, and let them process until completely minced. Add the parsley leaves and pulse the food processor until the parsley is minced. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel it and drop it in the food processor. Add the tahini, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper. Run the food processor until the ingredients are smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary, about 1 minute. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as necessary, pulsing the food processor to mix. Serve as a dip, with pita bread or a mix of vegetables.

Mince the garlic in the food processor
Process the rest of the ingredients

Notes:

  • For most grilling recipes, I preheat the grill. Not this one; I put the eggplant on the grill the moment I start it. I’m not looking to sear the eggplant, just cook it through, so the sudden burst of heat isn’t necessary. That makes this an easy side dish – I turn the grill on a half an hour ahead of time, with the eggplant on the grate, then pull it off when the grill is preheated and it is time to cook my main course.
  • No food processor? Um…well, I guess you could mince everything, then pound it together with a mortar and pestle….but that seems like an awful lot of work. And, I think it’s too thick for most blenders. If you’ve got a monster blender like a Vitamix, it will work, but other than that, you want a food processor.
  • No grill? And you read my blog? Wow. Well, roast the eggplant in the stove at 400*F until it collapses, then continue with step 2.
  • Can’t find tahini? Look in the international aisle of your local grocery store. Or, if you’re desperate, substitute another nut butter – almond or peanut butter. It changes the taste, but it will work.

What do you think? Questions? Any other eggplant suggestions? Please? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Pressure Cooker Hummus

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6 Comments

  1. Grill guy that you are, you should check out this kind of thing:

    http://www.allfood.com/script/rec_d.php?recipeid=2727&catid=43

    The greens part is not what Jacques Pepin does, he just grills the eggplant and uses that “oriental” style dressing. I believe he also adds a bit of sesame oil to the dressing too, and maybe just a little bit of grated ginger. Chopped parsley or perhaps even better some finely chopped shallots, that’s what I would do. Color, in the form of diced red pepper, would help. I would also grind pepper onto the eggplant before grilling. Some kids would prefer that the skin is removed first. Also consider using white eggplants, I’ve generally found them to be milder.

  2. We have enough eggplant this year to feed a battalion. I have an entire file of just eggplant recipes. I make eggplant ragu sauce and freeze it to use in winter. This one is different and it uses up all the extra tomatoes and zucchini:

    Eggplant ‘Pie’
    1 1/2 lbs. eggplant, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
    2 tomatoes, sliced
    1 green pepper, sliced into rings
    1 onion, sliced
    1 c. sliced mushrooms (optional)
    1 medium zucchini, sliced (optional)
    2 T oil
    1 T wine vinegar
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/2 tsp. salt
    Dash of pepper
    1 tsp. each basil and oregano
    4 sliced Provolone cheese
    1/2 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese
    Broil eggplant 8 minutes on one side only. Arrange slices, broiled side down, overlapping sides and bottom of a 10 inch pie pan. Arrange tomato, pepper and onion (also zucchini and mushrooms if used) in alternating layers on top. Sprinkle with oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Top with cheeses and bake 15 minutes more.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!

    And…keep ’em coming…I’ve got an eggplant avalanche headed my way…

  4. Slice and salt the eggplant to get out the bitterness. Rinse and dry, liberally coat with olive oil, season and grill over a high flame, then top with a slice of fontina with fresh or fried sage, sandwich the cheese between two slices of the eggplant. Serve with a little caponata or other tomato side if you like but delicious on it’s own. These are a huge hit at my place, people stand around the grill and burn their hands taking them as they come off.

  5. Check out this Indian dish that is very similar to Baba Ganoush in that you roast/grill the eggplant but then cook it on the stove top with onions, tomatoes, peas and Indian spices….
    http://showmethecurry.com/subzis-vegetables/eggplant-peas-baingan-bhurta.html

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