Baba Ganoush is an Arabic dish traditionally served with pita bread. However, it’s also wonderful as a veggie dip, and I’ve even been know to use it as a sandwich spread instead of mayo. It’s one of those dishes that varies in preparation from middle eastern country to country. Recipes will include other vegetables and a variety of different spices. In many Arabic countries it is also common to drizzle Baba Ganoush with olive oil before serving.
Baba Ganoush is my solution to excess eggplant to be found in the garden at this time of year. I remember one particular summer when my boys were very young and I had a larger than usual garden. Because I had trouble with eggplant a couple of years running, I decided to plant a couple dozen eggplant I had started from seed. We ended up naming that summer the “Eggplant Summer”. Growing conditions were perfect and I had so much eggplant I couldn’t even give it all away. I gave a bunch to my boys’ pediatrician, a wonderful little Filipino woman, and to this day we are good friends. Anyway, back to our subject, Baba Ganoush freezes wonderfully, so I can enjoy it during the cold months when I start baking bread again. Because the weather is so hot when eggplant is in season, I fire up the grill for roasting instead of using the oven and heating up my kitchen.
4 small or 2 large eggplant (about 2 pounds), roasted
2 or 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste you should be able to find in the ethnic section your grocery)
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Ground cumin to taste (I start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there)
To roast eggplant, preheat your grill or oven. The eggplant can be roasted whole, but I like to split mine in half. I brush some aluminum foil with a little olive oil, lay the eggplant cut side down and roast until soft and skin shrivels. The cut side gets browned which lends a more brown color to the finished product, and also gives it a more roasty flavor in my opinion. If you roast the eggplant whole, be sure to poke each eggplant a few times with a fork. Cool eggplant and then scoop out the flesh into your food processor
Add garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt and cumin to the eggplant and process until smooth. This recipe is about the eggplant, so the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and spices should be adjusted for personal taste. I know I probably sound like a broken record, but I’d like to stress that cooking should not be about making a recipe just like someone else does. You want it to taste good to YOU!