Charred Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghannouj)
Baba ghannouj , better known to Westerners as baba ghanoush, is that lovely, lovely eggplant puree that you’ve probably ordered and loved the last time you ate at a Middle Eastern restaurant. I order it every time I eat at my favorite Turkish place or my other favorite Turkish place.
If you want it really smoky, you have to make it at home. Charring the skin until burnt gives the dish much character. After the charring is done, the rest is easy. A few pulses in the food processor with tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice, and your baba ghannouj — “pampered daddy”, literally — is ready.
Serve it with toasted flatbread or vegetables, or as a sandwich spread.
BABA GHANOUJ RECIPE
Yield: 6 TO 8 SERVINGS
Prep Time: 10 MIN
Cook Time: 10 MIN
The charring in this recipe is done on a gas stove but can be made in the oven as well.
1 large globe eggplant
1 large garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Line the surroundings of a gas burner with aluminum foil (you’ll be thankful you did when the eggplant starts dripping its sticky juices). Turn on the flame to medium-high and char the eggplant on all sides until swollen, cracked, soft and dripping hot juices. Use tongs to turn it as it can get very hot. The charring should take 10 to 15 minutes.
Place the charred eggplant in a paper bag to allow it to sweat and cool a bit, 5 minutes. Transfer it to a cutting board. Peel off and discard the skin.
Transfer the pulp into the bowl of a food processor. Add the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, cumin (if using), salt and pepper. Process to a puree.
Serve baba ghannouj at room temperature drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with chopped parsley and smoked paprika.