Eggplant is delicious roasted, sautéed, or stir-fried, but it’s stupendous when mashed up in a garlicy Mediterranean dip called baba ghanoush.
Silky, creamy, and luxurious, this dip is a common mezze dish, or small plate, on many a table in various Mediterranean countries. Typically served with warm pita bread for dipping, baba ghanoush is a crowd-pleaser sure to wow your guests at your next pot luck gathering.
The trick to making baba ghanoush is to roast or char the eggplant first, so as to soften the vegetable and allow it to develop a rich, nuttiness. Roasting the eggplant whole allows you to easily scoop the flesh out of the skin, since the recipe only calls for the tender eggplant flesh. Sometimes the skin can be thick and lend an off-putting bitterness to a dish, so often times the skin is removed. Lighter colored eggplants, like Japanese eggplants, have a more delicate, thin skin, so these can be enjoyed whole, with the skin and all.
While eggplant is the star of baba ghanoush, no Mediterranean dip would be complete without tahini – that, rich, peanut buttery paste made purely of sesame seeds. Tahini is one of those ingredients signature to Mediterranean cooking and it keeps well in the refrigerator, so it’s a good staple to keep on hand. With a touch of lemon juice for a clean, balancing tang and a pungent kick from freshly minced garlic, baba ghanoush is super quick and simple to prepare.
There are so many different variations of baba ghanoush recipes, each one with its own unique twist. Our recipe below its adapted from the Fine Cooking magazine. It’s simple, clean, and full of wonderful flavor. We hope you enjoy it just as much as we do!
Baba ghanoush (adapted from Fine Cooking magazine)
1.5 lbs. eggplant
¼ cup tahini
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Salt to taste
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Set the broiler of your oven on high. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the eggplant on the baking sheet. Arrange the baking sheet on the top oven rack closest to the broiler coils without the vegetables actually touching the coils. Broil/roast the eggplant whole, with the skin on turning as needed for about 20 minutes, or until the skin begins to blister or crack. Once the skin begins to crack and turn an ashy color, remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the eggplant to cool.
Once the eggplant has cooled, cut the eggplant in half longways, and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add in the tahini, lemon juice, minced garlic, and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly with a fork until everything is one smooth consistency. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serve with warm pita bread.