Whenever pita bread is puffing up in my oven, a bowl of baba ghanoush glazed with olive oil is surely waiting nearby. In this classic Middle Eastern appetizer, roasted eggplants are mashed and flavored with tahini, a sesame seed paste equally useful in Asian cookery, particularly in Japanese Cuisine, where it can be used in savory dips and sauces.
Long considered the other Middle Eastern dip, baba ghanoush unfairly takes a backseat to hummus as the accompaniment of choice to pita bread wedges. I have a slight preference for the texture of the roasted eggplants in baba ghanoush. Whereas the chickpeas in hummus have to be pureed, using a fork instead of a bladed machine to tease the baba ghanoush into a light puff of beige makes all the difference.
recipe adapted from Claudia Roden’s The New Book of Middle Eastern Food
Yeastspotting at Wild Yeast Blog
Roasted Eggplant and Tahini Dip
serves 2 as a side dish
2 medium or large eggplants, about 1 pound
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
2 tablespoons tahini / sesame seed paste
juice of 1 lemon
salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
parsley, coarsely chopped (optional)
- For the best texture, use a plain old fork instead of fancy food processors or blenders to mash the eggplants and mix the ingredients together.
Prepare a grill or preheat a broiler. Prick the eggplant skin with a fork or skewer to allow steam to escape while cooking.
Grill or broil the eggplants for about 15 to 30 minutes, turning frequently until the eggplants are charred and slightly wrinkled. Let the eggplants cool briefly (just enough time to take a picture or two).
If it didn’t already explode while cooking, split the eggplants and scoop out the flesh. Discard the skin. Using a fork, squeeze out excess moisture from the eggplants and drain the bitter liquid.
Mash the eggplants with a fork until creamy. Add the finely minced garlic, tahini, and lemon juice slowly while mixing. Season with salt and add the ground cumin (if you are using it). Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Top with coarsely chopped parsley and/or drizzle with olive oil. Serve with freshly baked pita bread wedges.