Photo Credit: Alexandra Grablewski
Baba ghanouj, meaning “father of pestle,” is always seen as a sidekick to hummus. The eggplants are charred until silky soft and lightly smoky and then blended with nutty tahini, garlic, fresh lemon juice, and herbs. This earthy eggplant spread is rich and robust and makes a terrific appetizer with warm pita or Khebez Arabi (thin pocket bread), Khebez Muhamas (crispy pita chips), or as a topping for grilled vegetables or meat.
MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS
3 medium Italian eggplants
3 garlic cloves
1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely minced
1⁄3 cup tahini (see page 280), thoroughly stirred
2 1⁄2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes, for garnish
6 large pita bread pockets, warmed and sliced into wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Using a sharp paring knife, pierce small slits all over through the skin of each eggplant, so they will release air and roast evenly. Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast on the center rack of the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, turning over halfway through the roasting time, until they are soft and visibly deflated. Remove the eggplants from the oven and transfer from the baking sheet to a cutting board to cool slightly, or until they are still warm to the touch, but can be handled.
Once they have cooled, slice each eggplant in half lengthwise, split apart with your fingers, and scoop out the roasted pulp; discard the peels. Place the pulp in a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl, and press down with a spatula to release as much excess liquid as possible. Set aside.
While the eggplant drains, place the garlic and parsley in a food processor and process until finely minced. Add the tahini, 2 tablespoons of cold water, lemon juice, and salt, and process until well incorporated, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl periodically; the consistency should be smooth and silky without being too thick or too thin. Add the roasted eggplant pulp to the food processor and pulse a few times, just enough to incorporate; do not over process.
Transfer the baba ghanouj to a large serving bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with the red pepper flakes. Serve at room temperature with the warm pita bread.
Copyright 2017 by Julie Ann Sageer in Julie Taboulie’s Lebanese Kitchen, St. Martin’s Press/St. Martin’s Griffin. All Rights Reserved.
RECIPE BY JULIE ANN SAGEER (JULIE TABOULIE)
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