Smoky Baba Ganoush
We’ve always loved baba ganoush for its bright, simple flavors and silky texture. In this fantastic update on the classic, the eggplant is broiled ‘til it’s blackened from end to end. When you scrape off all the char, what’s left is the steamed flesh — lush and smoky. It gets puréed with garlic, lemon, tahini, and cayenne, and then topped with a swirl of cumin olive oil, paprika, mint, and parsley.
The result is a rustic spread full of smoke, garlicky piquancy, lemon, and the vegetal sweetness of the eggplant. It tastes amazing on a soft triangle of homemade pita bread, but we also like it dolloped on a grain bowl or spread on a veggie sandwich. It’s pretty great on a lamb burger, too.
Our tip: Feel free to personalize your baba ganoush. If you like it salty, top it with olives. If you like a ton of herbs, pile it up with mint, parsley, and basil. If you live for the smoke, a generous sprinkle of smoky paprika is lovely.
Yield: 2 Cups
2 lbs eggplant
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste
⅛ tsp cayenne
½ tsp cumin seed, toasted until fragrant and coarsely ground
3 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp paprika
1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp mint, finely chopped
Homemade pita for serving (optional)
Prepare a charcoal grill to high heat or preheat the broiler.
Pierce eggplants here and there with the point of a paring knife, and then place them 2 inches from the heat source to roast. Allow the skins to blister and char, turning them with tongs until the entire surface is blackened and the eggplants are completely soft, about 10 to 12 minutes. Set them aside until they’re cool enough to touch.
Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise, and lay them skin side down on a cutting board. Carefully scrape out the flesh with a knife or spoon, and put it in a mesh strainer. Discard the burned skins. Do not rinse the eggplant flesh — it’s fine if a few bits of char remain.
Salt the eggplant flesh lightly, and set it aside for 5 to 10 minutes. Using the back of a spoon, press out the excess water.
In a food processor or blender, whirl up the eggplant, the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and cayenne, and a ½ teaspoon of salt to obtain a creamy purée.
Taste the baba ganoush, and adjust the salt and lemon juice if necessary. Transfer the spread to a shallow serving bowl.
Just before serving, stir together the cumin and olive oil, and spoon it over the baba ganoush.
Sprinkle the baba ganoush with the paprika, parsley, and mint. Serve with warm pita cut into triangles if desired.
Recipe source: New York Times Cooking