Liking eggplant as she does, SWMBO is naturally a big fan of Baba Ghanouj, a Mediterranean dish that is to roasted eggplant what hummus is to chick peas. The ingredients are simple enough: eggplant roasted until soft, tahini (sesame butter), olive oil, garlic, lemon, salt, and whatever other spices you want to add. Some people include parsley, too. The problem I have in making the stuff is that I can’t taste it to see if I have the proportions right. The times I have accidentally gotten some into my mouth, it has taken a couple of hours to get the flavor of the eggplant out.
So I cook and have SWMBO taste and tell me when I should add more of something. Last time, I apparently got the mix pretty close to perfect. So this time, I’m going to record the recipe so that I have a base line to work from. If you’re thinking of trying this, I should warn you that SWMBO likes it zingy -- lots of garlic & lots of lemon. She also likes an earthy, smoky taste, which I enhance by roasting the eggplant nearly to the point of burning and then adding some cumin at the end.
So here’s my procedure:
- Roast one medium eggplant at 400° for about an hour. (During the winter, it’s best to thoroughly prick the skin of the eggplant before roasting; the skin is thicker in the winter, and I’ve had an eggplant explode on me when the steam couldn’t escape. It made quite a mess of the toaster oven.)
- Let the eggplant stand until cool enough to handle; about two hours in the oven or one outside the oven. If you leave it in the oven, you’ll have time to take a nap, and how nifty is it to have a recipe that includes a nap?
- Make a paste of seven cloves of garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt or kosher salt. Sometimes the food processor will leave some garlic chunks, so a little pre-mashing will get it mixed in better. Not that SWMBO minds the occasional chunk of garlic. Come to that, neither do I; I just don’t want to have to fish it out of eggplant.
- Put the garlic paste you just made into a food processor along with:
- 1/3 cup of tahini,
- 1/3 cup olive oil,
- the juice from three lemons