Going Gaga for Baba Ghanoush

So, I have to admit it. I'm in love with the humble eggplant.

Last year, it was kale -- this year, those deep purple oblong aubergines are all I want to cook.

I've curried them with tofu. I've simmered them with tomatoes, spices and garlic in zaalouk. I've grilled them to top everything from pizza to bison burgers. And, I've roasted them with chickpeas and bacon for a simple pasta sauce. I've even microwaved them Mark Bittman-style, with breadcrumbs, lemon and honey. But, I hadn't made the creamy, dreamy delicious eggplant dip that is Baba ghanoush.

Until today. And I must say, it is quite delish.

Gourmess' Baba Ghanoush
Olive oil
3 medium-sized, firm eggplants
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Smoked sea salt
2 TBS tahini
2 TBS lemon juice
1/2 tsp honey
4 TBS, fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/8 tsp smoked paprika

Minimal MESS/ingredients/clean-up: Category 1
To Do:
  • Prick the eggplants all over with a fork and drizzle them with olive oil before placing them on a baking sheet lined with foil, and into a 450 degree oven. 
  • Roast until they deflate a bit, and the skin is charred in spots -- about 20-25 minutes. (Note: You can also use a grill or char the eggplants carefully over your burner's open flame, but I had other things cooking on the stove, so I used the oven instead.)
  • In the meantime, on your cutting board, use your knife or the back of a spoon to smoosh the garlic and 1/4 tsp of smoked salt, into a paste. (Note: I love using the smoked salt in this dip, but if you don't have it, plain old Kosher salt will do.) 
  • Then, in a medium-sized bowl, mix together the garlic/salt paste, tahini, lemon juice, and honey until well incorporated, and set aside.
  • When the eggplants were done, I let them cool until they were easy to handle, then cut them in half lengthwise and scooped the pulp into my food mill, turning it several times until I had a lovely purée. (Discard the skins/stems.) Alternatively, you can put the pulp in the food processor and blast away, but I think the mill gives it a velvety texture and if you use a disc with fine holes, it gets rid of the seeds -- which can be plentiful if your eggplants are overripe.
  • Add the tahini mixture to the eggplant and mix well. Stir in the parsley (save a pinch or two for garnish) and season with a bit more salt, if needed. 
  • Transfer the dip to a serving bowl and top with the reserved parsley and the paprika.
  • Scoop up with warm pitas or spread on toasted bread and top with bacon, lettuce and tomato for a tasty spin on a BLT. I call it the BBLT.
And that, my friends, is how you put an eggplant (or three) to good use.