First off, I must say … there are a lot of different ways to spell this classic Middle Eastern appetizer dip. I struggled with which spelling to use for my version. Yes, I am that much of a nerd.
In any case, I settled on going without a ‘j’ in my title. (So, not Baba Ghanouj or Baba Ghannouj.)
So, one would think that I’d have made baba ghanoush before. But, nope. I suppose there’s a first time for everything.
Basically every recipe I researched online to come up with my own version was identical. So I stuck with a classic for my first time.
- 2 medium eggplants
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Pierce eggplant skin all over with a fork. (This is crucial as the steam needs to escape while roasting or it may explode.)
- Roast for 20 minutes. Carefully wrap each eggplant in foil and return to oven to roast for an additional 20-30 minutes, depending on size of eggplant, until soft.
- Remove from oven. Unwrap eggplant, being careful to save any juices in the foil.
- Plunge eggplant in a large bowl of cold water. Remove eggplant skin. Work in/over a bowl to save any juices that run out of the eggplant while you're working with it.
- Place eggplant, lemon juice, garlic and tahini in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer mixture to a bowl and slowly mix in olive oil.
- Refrigerate for at least a couple hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
When you wrap the eggplant in the foil, make sure you use this opportunity to turn the eggplant and continue roasting the second half on the other side.
When I unwrapped my eggplant I thought there would be a lot of juice to reserve. There really wasn’t. I don’t know how much of an important step wrapping the eggplant in foil while cooking is. I can see the benefit of doing so right out of the oven to help steam off the skin before putting it in the cold water bath. I am purely speculating at this point. Next time I’ll try roasting it without foil and just using it after and see if there’s a difference.
Use a high-powered blender, like a Vitamix, for a very smooth and creamy result to your dip.
I served this dip with rice crackers and lentil chips.
Now that I’ve made this recipe the traditional way (or as traditional as I figure it must be made) I am keen to start experimenting with adding some more Middle Eastern flavors in there and enhance it. I’m thinking that adding some cumin would be a great place to start experimenting. Maybe adding some heat and spice. I’ll keep you all posted with what I come up with.
Oh and one more thing. I think this would be really awesome to make during the summer, by roasting/grilling the whole eggplant on the barbecue. (That’s weird to spell out.) The alternative method I found in my searches for roasting the eggplant was over an open flame to char the skin – like roasted peppers – then wrapping in foil and continuing to finish the cooking in the oven. I figure cooking on a bbq would do sort of the same thing, imparting a nice smokiness that I’m sure charring the skin would do.