Baba Ganoush is a popular classic Middle Eastern eggplant dip that, I'm happy to report, is easy to cook at home in your oven. The key to making great baba ganoush is to burn the skin of the eggplant, which brings out the most extraordinary flavors in the underlying flesh: smokiness with subtle caramelized sweetness. The burnt eggplant is mixed with fresh lemon juice, tahini, olive oil and garlic and whipped up into the most creamy, smoky, irresistible dip.
I've always loved Baba ganoush (also spelled baba ghanouj and baba ghanoush). I'm not sure where I got the idea that it was impossible to cook at home, that it would require roasting eggplants over an open wood fire. I'm so happy that this delicious Middle Eastern classic is so easy to make in a plain old kitchen oven.
I admit that I haven't tried roasting eggplants over an open flame. Maybe they're even better that way. But honestly I couldn't ask for a more delicious outcome than this!
Charring the eggplant under the intense heat of the broiler completely transforms the texture and flavor of the underlying flesh. When the eggplant comes out of the oven and you cut it open, you'll find the insides are creamy, smoky and utterly delicious. It's similar to the transformation of red bell peppers when you roast them.
HOW TO MAKE BABA GANOUSH
Set your oven to Broil and burn the daylights out of some eggplants for about an hour, rotating them a quarter turn every fifteen minutes. And DON'T FORGET to puncture the eggplants a few times with a skewer or knife before you broil them. Otherwise they have a tendency to explode.
When the the eggplants come out of the oven, they'll be mostly black, and tender to the point of collapsing. Let them cool for ten minutes or so, so you can handle them. Then slice them in half and scoop the flesh out, into a colander to drain for a few minutes, then into a bowl.
Add tahini, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic and salt.
Whip the ingredients with a fork until the mixture is creamy and light in color.
Transfer the baba ganoush to a serving bowl. Use the back of a spoon to make some swirls. Drizzle olive oil into the swirls and top with chopped parsley, toasted pine nuts and pomegranate seeds.
Baba Ganoush is delicious for dipping crudités or warm pita.
I especially love separating the long skinny leaves of endive or chicory and dipping those in baba ganoush. They're so easy to prepare and they're light, crisp and the perfect shape for dipping.
Only one word of warning: you may want to double this recipe. This recipe makes enough for four or five people as a light starter - appetizer - meze. If you're expecting a crowd or if you want the luxury of indulging to your heart's content, double it. The flavors are incredible!
Here's the Baba Ganoush recipe. As always, I'm hoping that if you try this recipe, you'll come back to leave a rating and comment. I'd love to know what you think.