Saturday, December 12, 2009

PW's Baba Ghanoush

PW's Baba Ghanoush recipe caught my eye. I enjoy middle eastern food, and am unafraid to try new things, even things with eggplant as the starring ingredient. I have only tried to cook eggplant one other time during a pregnancy induced vegetarian kick and it didn't come out very well. That was two babies and a few years ago, so I figured it was time to give it another chance.
It's such a pretty vegetable, after all. How can you resist that smooth, richly colored, gorgeously plump exterior? First things first - I pricked them all over as instructed, then popped them under the broiler turned on high.
About 30 minutes later, with many flips with tongs, this is how they came out. Kinda ugly. But I'm not worried. Roasted stuff always looks a little funky, but with the funk comes excellent flavor.
My mom was in town and helping me with this particular experiment, and when I split open the skins to expose the slimy stringy innards with little seeds, she expressed her skepticism.
But I'm pleased to report that when mixed with the right things, it turns into quite a tasty concoction! The texture is similar to guacamole, the flavor quite close to hummus. It's the perfect accompaniment to pita chips, and I also made a vegetable sandwich on toasted sourdough with a thick layer of baba ghanoush slathered on it - very tasty. I nibbled on some more of it today, and noticed that the garlic flavor is gaining more potency, so I'd suggest that if you're not going to eat it all at once, to ease off on the garlic.
Baba Ghanoush
3 whole medium eggplants (or 2 large)
4 T. tahini (sesame paste)
3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
kosher salt to taste
Prick the surface of each eggplant several times with a fork. On the grill or under the broiler (set to high), blacken/char the eggplants for 25 minutes or so, rotating frequently, until the skin is completely shriveled and dark and the eggplant is fall apart tender. Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the other ingredients.
When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin enough to get a spoon into each eggplant and scrape out the flesh into a bowl, seeds and all. Mash the eggplant with a fork (I used a pastry blender) until you achieve a relatively smooth texture without being totally pureed. Add in all the other ingredients, stirring well and tasting before adjusting seasonings or other ingredients.
Be cautious with the salt if you are using table salt as it is easier to over do it than with kosher or sea salt. Serve at room temperature or cool with chips, pita wedges, crusty baguette slices, etc.

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