While I could ramble on and on about all of the wonderful and not-so-wonderful things that have happened to me over the last year, I won’t. Instead, why don’t we pick up where we left off. Did you all have a good summer, or two? Did you get to go outside, soak in the sun, play at the beach, and eat or drink something that quenches your thirst and refreshes your soul like I told you to in my last post? I know I did.
Like this Smoky Baba Ghanoush, a Mediterranean eggplant dip or spread. It’s earthy, both in color and in flavor. When traditionally paired with some fresh pita chips, it works as the perfect side or snack. A little garlic tends to go a very long way in this particular dish, even for the most vehement of garlic lovers, and the lemon juice and cilantro brighten the nuttiness from the tahini and the smoky bitterness from the eggplants. It is beyond easy to make, and even benefits from a day or two in the fridge. I assure you, it is a wonderful thing that has happened to me in my kitchen; one that is about to happen to you in yours.
Smoky Baba Ghanoush
Adapted from David Lebovitz
3 medium-sized eggplants1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, or smoked salt (if you have some)
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, or chile powder
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
a half bunch picked cilantro leaves, or flat-leaf parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 375F
2. Prick each eggplant a few times, then char the outside of the eggplants under the broiler or directly over the flame of a gas burner until the skin chars and wrinkles to a deep, midnight purple.
3. Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until completely soft; you should be able to easily poke a paring knife or fork into them and meet no resistance.
4. Remove from oven and let cool.
5. Split the eggplant and scrape out the pule. Puree the pulp in a blender or food processor with the other ingredients until smooth.
6. Taste, and season with additional salt and lemon juice, if necessary. Serve, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkle a little more paprika and chopped herbs (in my case, cilantro). Pair with crackers, sliced baguette, or toasted pita chips for dipping.
Storage: Baba Ghanoush can be made and refrigerated for up to five days prior to serving.