Quick Bites from Pender

Baba Ghanoush

In Recipes on June 21, 2010 at 2:31 pm

baba-ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush.  Fun to say, difficult to make look pretty.  Food this colour is generally not a good idea.

But even the most aesthetically demanding foodies I know make an exception for Baba — it`s just too smoky, creamy and delicious to pass up.

We had it out on the deck last night with some flatbread and beef short ribs fresh off the charcoal grill.  The sun may be acting a little shy lately, but I am determined to usher in summer, post-haste.  Enough with this inside living stuff…

salted-eggplant

I dragged our Weber Kettle out of the basement and up 13 stairs to the deck, then went back for the briquettes and lighter — 19 coals in the bottom of the bag.  Rain threatened and fuel was low, yet I persevered.  The eggplants had to go in the oven to save the charcoal for later, but that was my only concession.

What a meal!  The bread was smoky from the grill and the donair dry rub I tried on the short ribs was almost there.  It didn’t rain — we even had a young visitor!  Mama wasn’t far behind…

white-tail-fawn

Baba Ghanoush is a middle eastern appetizer and side dish.  Different countries see slight variations.  Some cube their eggplant, others puree it.  Onion replaces the garlic in some versions, while everyone seasons theirs just a little differently.

My version has developed from years of different recipes and oral instructions.  Recently, I was inspired to try the food mill instead of the food processor.  A friend told me it’s how the family she lived with in Turkey made theirs.  I loved the extra texture — so now the food mill becomes the latest adapatation to a recipe that is always in progress.

Come to think of it, aren’t all recipes works in progress?

halved-eggplants roasted-eggplants

diced-roasted-eggplant eggplant-food-mill

If you have access to a barbecue, especially charcoal, then it really is worth it to grill the eggplants.  The smokiness from the open flame adds a depth that you won’t think possible in food.  So much umami, Brillat-Savarin would have been at a loss for words.  Yes…that deep.

Baba Ghanoush
Approx  1½ cups

Eggplant (1 large or 2-3 small) 1 lb 500 g
Salt 1 t 5 ml
Olive Oil 2 T 30 ml
Garlic, minced 2 cloves
Tahini ¼ C 60 ml
Fresh Lemon Juice 2-3 T 30-45 ml
Parsley or Cilantro, finely chopped 2 T 30 ml
Ground Cumin 1 t 5 ml
Salt ¾ t 3 ml
Fresh Ground Pepper TT
Olive Oil ¼ C 60 ml
Olive Oil & Smoked Paprika for garnish

lb=pound                 g=grams          t=teaspoon           ml=millilitres
T=tablespoon         C=cup               TT=to taste

Trim off the tops of the eggplants and halve lengthwise.  Salt the cut sides of the eggplant liberally with the 1 teaspoon of salt.  Set aside for 30 minutes to draw moisture and bitterness from the eggplants.

Preheat the oven to 400° F, or fire up the grill.  After 30 minutes, wipe away the salt and moisture from the eggplants with a paper towel.

To oven roast, put the eggplants in a pan skin side down and brush the cut sides with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Roast the eggplants until browned and very soft, about 40 minutes.  The skin should be slightly blackened on the bottom.  Remove from the oven and cool completely.

To roast on the barbecue, brush the cut sides lightly with olive oil and grill, covered, turning occasionally until browned, very soft and slightly charred, about 30 minutes.

If using a food mill, chop the eggplant into large pieces and put it through the mill (using either the coarse or medium plate).  Some of the skin will make it through the mill — discard what remains in the bottom of the mill.  Stir the remaining ingredients, except for the ¼ cup olive oil, into the eggplant puree.  Incorporate the olive oil in a slow drizzle while stirring vigourously.

If using a food processor, scrape the flesh from the skins of half of the eggplants.  Discard the skins and add the flesh to the food processor.  Chop the rest of the eggplant into large pieces, skins and all, and add it along with the remaining ingredients except for the ¼ cup olive oil.  Process until smooth.  With the motor running, add the olive oil through the food chute in a slow drizzle.

Allow to sit for at least 1 hour before serving.  This allows time for the flavours to meld.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with smoked paprika and serve with grilled flatbread or pita — or veggies for that matter — it’s all good.

baba-ghanoush-flatbread

Baba Ghanoush

Approx  1½ cups

Eggplant (1 large or 2-3 small)

1 lb

500 g

Salt

1 t

5 ml

Olive Oil

2 T

30 ml

Garlic, minced

2 cloves

Tahini

¼ C

60 ml

Fresh Lemon Juice

2-3 T

30-45 ml

Zest from half a Lemon, minced

Parsley or Cilantro, finely chopped

Ground Cumin

1 t

5 ml

Salt

¾ t

3 ml

Fresh Ground Pepper

TT

Olive Oil

¼ C

60 ml

Olive Oil & Smoked Paprika for garnish

lb=pound                 g=grams          t=teaspoon           ml=millilitres

T=tablespoon         C=cup               TT=to taste

Trim off the tops of the eggplants and halve lengthwise.  Salt the cut sides of the eggplant liberally with the 1 teaspoon of salt.  Set aside for 30 minutes to draw moisture and bitterness from the eggplants.

Preheat the oven to 400° F, or fire up the grill.  After 30 minutes, wipe away the salt and moisture from the eggplants with a paper towel.

To oven roast, put the eggplants in a pan skin side down and brush the cut sides with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Roast the eggplants until browned and very soft, about 40 minutes.  The skin should be slightly blackened on the bottom.  Remove from the oven and cool completely.

To roast on the barbecue, brush the cut sides lightly with olive oil and grill, covered, turning occasionally until browned, very soft and slightly charred, about 30 minutes.

If using a food mill, chop the eggplant into large pieces and put it through the mill (using either the coarse or medium plate).  Some of the skin will make it through the mill — discard what remains in the bottom of the mill.  Stir the remaining ingredients, except for the ¼ cup olive oil, into the eggplant puree.  Incorporate the olive oil in a slow drizzle while stirring vigourously.

If using a food processor, scrape the flesh from the skins of half of the eggplants.  Discard the skins and add the flesh to the food processor.  Chop the rest of the eggplant into large pieces, skins and all, and add it along with the remaining ingredients except for the ¼ cup olive oil.  Process until smooth.  With the motor running, add the olive oil through the food chute in a slow drizzle.

Allow to sit for at least 1 hour before serving.  This allows time for the flavours to meld.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with smoked paprika and serve with grilled flatbread or pita — or veggies for that matter — it’s all good.

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  1. GREAT baba ghanoush recipe! I saw this and definitely had to check it out! Baba Ghanoush is one of my favorites. Meze Grill makes an awesome Baba Ghanoush with a hint of smokey flavor. I LOVE IT

    mmmmmmmm ill have to try this recipe out. thanks a lot!

  2. all preparations of this type do not look well. However, on the contrary, they are delicious ! I love it, and I prepare this from time to time in the season. Kind regards!

  3. You know, after reading this, while I’ve heard what I make called baba ghanoush, I realized that what you made is and what I make isn’t. Our family makes Mutabal, which is the Armenian version. The eggplant is charred whole, cooled and then the skin is removed. It’s a very smooth puree. I love the overlap of cuisines like this!

    • There are so many versions of this eggplant, tahini, olive oil and lemon dish, it’s no wonder there isn’t some confusion! Whatever you call it, I think we all agree it’s delicious…

    • Mom Chef- the Armenian version you are talking about sounds very much like the Romanian version I make, except that we always add finely minced onions.

  4. wow! I think your baba ghanoush looks out of this world delicious! So I’ll most certainly try your recipe and run it through the food meal I haven’t used since my little one turned 9 months old! I love baba ghanoush!

  5. Baba Ghanoush is one of my favorites! Who cares how it looks when it tastes SO good!

    Great recipe and wonderful pictures.

  6. I love love love baba ganoush- and the thing is this- you get the paste to be light enough and decorate it with paprika as you did here or more middle-eastern with sumac and perhaps some thinly sliced scallions and I think it looks lovely.

  7. Hi, Theresa. I was just thinking about baba ganoush to go with hummous for a summer meal on a hot day (well, we can hope that a hot summer day arrives here in the Gulf Islands – then I’ll have a good template for the Middle Eastern feast al fresco). Thanks for the recipe, Dan

  8. My favorite dip. Your baba ghannouj looks fabulous!

  9. I love baba ganoush and your version looks terrific!

  10. I actually think that first photo looks really yummy! Now, I’m not a huge baba fan but my family is and so here are a couple of their tips: my brother makes his with white eggplant and swears by it, and my mother used to have a deli and she put liquid smoke in hers to pump up the smoky flavour. May be cheating, but if you can’t bbq those babies then it’s the next best thing!

  11. This is a difficult dish to make attractive, but yours looks great! I love baba ghanoush, and I’m looking forward to getting some local eggplant to make it again soon!

  12. I can’t pronounce it but I want it…Looks wonderful!

  13. Wow it sounds amazing! And your pictures look great 😉

  14. The most delicious foods aren’t always the prettiest, but I have to say your photo of it is pretty darned appetising to me! I love eggplant dip and your recipe sounds wonderful!

  15. Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

  16. Great time of year now to be making baba ghanoush, now that eggplants are in season! I agree it is not the most eye pleasing dish, but I love it.

    http://michaelbeyer.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/michaels-baba-ghanoush-and-toasted-pita-chips/

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