Dish of the Week: Baba Ghanoush
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.
This week, we’re sharing a recipe that hummus fans can get down with: baba ghanoush.
Baba ghanoush — also seen as baba ghanouj or baba ghanoug — is a Levantine dip or spread that is similar to hummus. The Arabic word “baba” means “father,” and according to world-foodhistory.com, the name baba ghanoush translates to “spoiled father,” alluding to an eldery, toothless baba whose daughter mashed his food so he didn’t have to chew it.
Like hummus, the dip incorporates tahini, or ground sesame paste; however, instead of using chickpeas as the base, baba ghanoush is made using roasted and pureed eggplant. Oil, garlic, lemon and fresh herbs and seasonings are added to make it bright, rich and smoky, and it is commonly eaten as part of a meze, or appetizer course, with lavash or pita bread.
This recipe, from Serious Eats, suggests you char-grill or broil the eggplant before wrapping it in foil to let it soften and rest. Afterwards, the tender eggplant is scooped out and put though a salad spinner to remove excess moisture.
The Best Baba Ghanoush Recipe
Ingredients serves 4 to 6
3 medium Italian eggplants (about 2 pounds total)
3 medium cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon, plus more as desired
3 tablespoons tahini
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
If using a gas burner or grill (recommended): Preheat a gas or coal grill to medium heat and place eggplants directly over heat source. Cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until completely tender and well charred on all sides, about 30 to 40 minutes. Wrap with foil and let rest 15 minutes.
If using the broiler: Adjust rack to six inches below broiler element and preheat broiler to high. Place eggplant on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides and completely tender, about one hour. Eggplants should be very, very tender when cooked. Test near the stem and bottom ends. If a toothpick or skewer meets any resistance, continue cooking. Remove from oven and gather up foil, crimping it around the eggplants to form a sealed package. Let the eggplants rest for 15 minutes.
Open foil package. Working one eggplant at a time, use a sharp paring knife to slit it open lengthwise. Carefully scoop out soft flesh with a large spoon and transfer to a strainer set in a large bowl. Once all eggplant is scooped, pick out any stray bits of skin and blackened flesh and discard.
Transfer eggplant to a salad spinner, distributing it evenly around the perimeter. Spin gently until all excess moisture is extracted. Discard all drippings, wipe out bowl and return eggplant to bowl.
Add garlic and lemon juice to eggplant and stir vigorously with a fork until eggplant breaks down into a rough paste, about one and a half minutes. Stirring constantly and vigorously, add the tahini, followed by the olive oil in a thin, steady stream. The mixture should become pale and creamy. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and more lemon juice if desired.
Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with warm pita bread or vegetables for dipping.
Baba ghanoush can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Let it warm to room temperature before serving.
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