Baba ganoush also referred as baba ghanouj, or baba ghanoush, is a savory dip of charred eggplant flavored with tahini, lemon juice and fresh herbs. This classic smoky, garlicky Middle Eastern roasted eggplant dip is very easy to make at home. Just like hummus, baba ganoush is another mezze/dip which comes in different guises. Add anything from broiled bell peppers to a dollop of plain yogurt, roasted tomatoes or pomegranate to transform it into something quite different, but equally delicious. Serve with fresh bread or pita chips and you’ve got yourself quite a perfect briny, bright, smoky appetizer.
I recently had this dish in a mezze at a restaurant near work and I knew I had to make it. When I saw this punnet of beautiful eggplants just sitting there begging to be roasted, I knew what I had to do.
The sun has been setting a bit earlier and I’ve been trying to deny it. With all of the traveling, Mexico to Maine, I’ve been pushing myself to the limit. I feel the urgency to get all the summer in that I can before I have to make do with indoor days and a suit of armor. Sometimes quiet days are just what I need to recharge and I haven’t stolen any in a while. I’ve proven to myself again and again that I can find some of that that time in the kitchen. Kitchen arts force you to take the time you need to pull it all together, even if it sometimes feels like another task to be tackled. Once you get started it becomes a singular focus. Cooking forces you to sit for a minute and savor the fruits of your labor.
People sometimes ask how I manage keeping up with this space and traveling for work, among other things. The answer is because I need to. It’s the passion and the quiet of visiting this space with you guys that keeps me grounded when everything gets crazy. I feel like I’m carrying you all with me wherever I go from kitchen to remote cabin to Mexico City. It’s also helped me realize the value of adding beauty to the world.
I’ve got a lot more for you soon! The lunar calendar holidays are coming up so I’m thinking of a Mexican inspired brisket or a new version of challah, since last year’s came out so well. I hope you’re all doing well. And if you’re sagging just a tad like I have been this week (jet lag, too much work, lost my keys, burned the toast and spilled the coffee) make this bright, tangy, briny baba ghanoush. It’s helped me sit among my mess and find something amazing to savor.
BABA GHANOUSH W/ HOMEMADE TAHINI
- 1large eggplant or a punnet of small eggplants
- 1⁄4cup tahini, plus more as needed
- 3garlic cloves, minced
- juice from half a lemon, plus more as needed
- 1pinch ground cumin
- salt, to taste
- 1tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1⁄4cup brine-cured black olives, such as kalamata
Preheat an oven to broil.
Prick the eggplant(s) with a fork in several places and place on bottom rack of the oven. Turn frequently, until the skin blackens and blisters and the flesh just begins to feel soft, 10 to 15 minutes. After this, if using small eggplants remove from oven. If using a big eggplant, lower heat to 375F and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes longer.
Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and peel off and discard the skin. Place the eggplant flesh in a bowl. Using a fork, mash the eggplant to a paste.
Add the 1/4 cup tahini (to make at home, add about 1/4 cup of sesame seeds to a food processor with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil–I used canola-and grind until it’s a liquidy paste) the garlic, the lemon juice and the cumin and mix well. You can blend it all in a food processor. Season with salt, then taste and add more tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed.
Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and spread with the back of a spoon to form a shallow well. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the dill. Place the olives around the sides. Serve at room temperature with homemade pita (recipe to come).