Baba's Ghanoush (Baba Ghanoush)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I remember the first time I had baba ghanoush.  It was on a sampler plate at this tiny hole in the wall Greek restaurant in Denton, TX.  I thought I was pretty cool and culturally aware for having tried hummus in the year 2000, before it was as widespread as it is today.  I was exploring the depths of my newly found vegetarianism, and it was taking me on a cross continent taste tour.  I looked at the different globs of brown goop on the plate, grabbed a pita triangle and hesitantly dipped it in the mush.  I took a bite and I was transformed.  It was the culinary equivalent of Cinderella's tattered dress turning into the beautiful ball gown.  My tastebuds were never the same after that magical mushy bite.  The warm pita, the tart lemon with the olive-oily nutty eggplant.  I knew I could be a vegetarian for life and never feel deprived.  Well I was wrong about all that, but baba ghanoush is still one of my most favorite things to eat.  Can you find a better way to eat a vegetable??  I don't think so.  

You will need:
2 large eggplants
juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup tahini
1/2 cup fresh minced parsley
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Since I am rocking the electric stove, I used the stovetop method as described.  Prick the eggplants all over with a fork.  In a 450 degree oven, roast the eggplants on a large baking sheet for 20 minutes, until soft.  After the 20 minutes, I turned the broiler on the really char the outer skin, but that was me going rogue.
*Alternately, if you are using a gas stove, plop those eggplants on the open flame (one per burner) and with tongs, turn every 5 minutes until the outside is charred.  

Now that your eggplant is cooked, you want to set aside and cool for a few minutes.  These guys will be HOT.  

Once they are cool enough to touch, remove the stem and the ends, and carefully peel the charred skin off.  Mince the flesh of the eggplant into small chunks.  You can use a food processor but Aarti and I prefer a chunkier ghanoush.  It will get gummy if you over blend it.  

In a bowl whisk together your eggplant chunks, lemon, tahini, parsley, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust the seasonings if you need.  Dig in!  (best served with warmed pita triangles)

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