Baba Ganoush

Can it possibly be Tuesday again already?? Why yes, yes it can. So, in an effort to use up the three teeny, tiny, baby Japanese eggplants languishing in the fridge, in anticipation of getting three more teeny, tiny, baby Japanese eggplants in the CSA tomorrow, I give you: baba ganoush.

There are lots of recipes for baba ganoush out there in Ye Olde Internets: most of them are pretty much the same, consisting mainly of roasted eggplant, tahini, and lemon juice.  The proportions vary a little, as do the spices, and there are heated arguments as to whether olive oil is necessary or not (mostly by the non-fat crowd. Let me give you a tip people; search for “bacon” on my blog to find out how much I care about non-fat recipes). In the end, I went with David Lebovitz’s version because, well, he’s David Lebovitz, and he’s full of awesome*.

Adapted (barely) from Baba Ganoush by David Lebovitz

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Baba Ganoush

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium eggplant (or 3 tiny Japanese eggplants), about 1 lb
  • 2 medium garlic cloves (or 4 teeny cloves)
  • 2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch or two of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

METHODS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (350 degrees F convection).
  2. Wash the eggplant(s) and char the skin over an open flame (using tongs, an oven mitt and your stovetop burner, the broiler, or a grill) until most of the skin is black and crinkly (or char only 1/2 the skin for a less smoky flavor).  Drizzle a small bit of olive oil over the eggplant, then roast in the preheated oven until quite soft; a knife poked into the eggplant should meet no resistance. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  3. Slice the eggplant in half and scoop out the flesh. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor (preferably a mini one); add garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt, black and cayenne pepper.  Process until smooth, drizzling a small amount of olive oil through the feed tube as the motor is running.  Add cilantro and pulse to combine.  Stop machine, taste and adjust flavors if necessary.  Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours to set up prior to serving.

Yields about 1 cup.

*And clearly, a much better photographer than yours truly. Ah well, c’est la vie!

OPTIONS

  1. Mr. Lebovitz is correct when he says he likes his baba to be quite smoky; the smoky flavor of mine was pronounced. I enjoyed it, but if smoky is not your thing, char only 1/2 or less of the eggplant skin.
  2. Although hardly traditional, I think a handful of chickpeas would add a nice boost to the body of the dip without sacrificing the smoky flavor. A mild white bean may work as well.
  3. I actually added about 1 tbsp of fresh cilantro, which was a bit much; tasty, but overwhelmed the roasted eggplant flavor.  If you are used to making hummus, make flavor adjustments with a light hand, as the flavor here is much more subtle and easily overwhelmed.
  4. For the cilantro-haters among you; flat-leaf parsley would work well, green scallion, or nothing at all.

STORE

Baba ganoush will last refrigerated for about 5 days.

SEASON

Summer.

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7 comments

  1. You know, I’ve been wondering the same thing myself, as more eggplants roll in from the CSA. Eggplant is not really a favorite with either my husband or I, but we really like this baba ganoush.

    My gut feeling is that it would not survive well on thawing; I’m assuming liquids and solids would separate and never quite combine again. But I have some in the fridge; I’ll take a small amount, freeze it overnight, and report back.

    • Doree Lipson

      Hi there! I am curious what ever happened with the freezing of the baba ganoush. I am preparing to make a monster batch and would love to freeze some…
      Are there other preserving methods?
      Thanks!

      • Hi Doree,

        Thanks for reminding me: I did freeze some, and to my mind, it did not fare well on thawing. The texture got almost grainy but also too watery, and the flavor profile changed; it was quite bitter. Sorry I don’t have better news for you. I assume baba could be pressure canned, but you may find similar problems with textural changes based on the time in the pressure canner.

        Kaela

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