Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Baba Ghanouj

I've been roasting eggplants lately. I have lots of late season eggplants in the garden still and tons of parsley, finally. (If you dont love parsley cut it back by half or omit entirely but I think it helps tame the raw garlic flavor and goes really nicely with the lemon.) I think the texture is greatly improved if you put out the effort to pick out the seeds. They all grow in little clumps and most of them can be removed easily. Its not necessary to pick out every single one but eggplants can have so many seeds that the texture is clumpy and crunchy and gross if you dont deseed them before making baba. Enough warning, do what you will. This is how Ive been making it lately:

Baba Ghanouj

3 eggplants; roasted, skinned, seeded 

(Yes 3, and yes "normal" big eggplants, I generally grow black beauty)
2 Tbl  tahini
2 cloves  garlic
1  lemon; juiced, about 2oz
2-3 Tbl  olive oil
1 1/4 tsp  salt
1 C  parsely; leaves only
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin seed; ground in a coffee grinder first

Grill, bake or broil eggplants until skin is blackened and blistering away from the flesh. I cut them in half and broil them, skin side up. I set the broiler to low and cook for between 20 and 30 minutes, moving them around so they cook evenly. I juice the lemon with a citrus reamer and pick parsley off the stems and grind up cumin seeds while they roast.
I keep the eggplants in a strainer over a bowl while peeling
 and picking out seeds. That way the majority of liquid in the
finished dip is from  lemon and olive oil.
When they are blackened all over and the flesh has softened and deflated, remove them from the oven. Flip eggplants over to help them cool and release moisture. Once cool, the skin should peel off very easily. The next part is messy but worth it for improved texture: With your hands, dig out the clumps of seeds. It doesnt need to be perfect but try to get out as many as possible. Put the remaining eggplant flesh into the blender or food processor. (The recipe is wet enough that I usually pick the blender because it is easier to clean...) After you pick through the eggplants, add everything else to the blender EXCEPT olive oil and parsley. Once the garlic and cumin is all chopped up and distributed evenly, slowly add the oil while it is blending on low. Finally add the parsley and mix it in briefly. (My last batch I forgot lemon until the end and really blended up the parsley so the baba had a greenish tint) Makes a big batch but it keeps well for at least a week. Dip bread and veggies in it or do anything you might do with hummus...

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