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Baba Ganoush (or Ganouj) is a Middle Eastern dish, similar to hummus – and with many of the same ingredients – but made with eggplant.  You can use it the same way as hummus too – as a dip, a sandwich spread, etc. Traditional Baba Ganoush is made with fire-roasted eggplant, imparting a smokey flavor, but since I live in a small condo with no outdoor space for a grill, I have to settle for oven-roasting!  Give it a try and you may never go back to hummus again!

Before I hand over the recipe, let’s talk about eggplant.  Seeds aren’t really a problem in Baba Ganoush.  Once the eggplant is roasted, the flesh is sweet and the seeds are so soft as to become undetectable.  That being said, sometimes you want eggplant with fewer seeds, since seeds are what make your eggplant bitter.  Most people think it’s a crap shoot – sometimes you get seeds, sometimes you don’t.  There is, however, a pretty reliable method for choosing eggplant…one my mother taught me years ago: you have to choose your eggplant according to gender.  Now before you call me crazy, hear me out.  Eggplants, seriously, come in female and male – and like human females, female eggplant have a large number of seeds (eggs).  So: choose a male eggplant and you have fewer seeds.  “But how do I know my eggplant is a boy?” you ask.  Simple – check out its belly button.  Again, hear me out! Female eggplant have wide, deep belly buttons and males have a smaller, shallower, rounder belly button – sometimes males even have more of an “outie.”  This picture shows the difference – the male is on the left (thanks for the pic “Just a Bowl of Cherries):

So there you have it!  Sometimes choosing male and female can still be a bit of a challenge, but I’d say I get a male about 90% of the time – and I buy a lot of eggplant!

Baba Ganoush

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of a fresh lemon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped fine

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash your eggplant and remove any labels.  Pierce the eggplant with a fork in 4 to 5 places.  Place eggplant in a baking dish and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  The eggplant should deflate a little and a fork should pierce it easily.  Set the eggplant aside for about 10 minutes.  Once cooled a little, peel and place the flesh in a bowl and mash well.

Add tahini and mix really well.  Some people put their Baba Ganoush in a blender, but I prefer mine chunkier. Add remaining ingredients – adjusting lemon and salt if necessary.  Serve room temperature.

Not the prettiest dish in the world, but it sure is tasty!

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