Baba Ganoush is a Middle Eastern dip made from eggplants. I’ve made this dip many times over the years and it’s an easy dish to make. It requires only a few ingredients and the key is to use these to enhance the flavor of the eggplant. If you are not a fan of eggplant, this dip might be the reason to reconsider. Commercial versions can be somewhat bland, watery, bitter and, quite frankly, nondescript. The secret behind an excellent baba ganoush lies in the cooking of the eggplant. Charring the skin is key as it gives the flesh a smokey taste. To achieve this you’ll need an intense heat from a broiler or a direct flame (I use the bbq). Char the eggplant well. You’ll know it’s done when the skin becomes very tight and will suddenly pop and steam will escape (not explode). This is your cue to remove and allow to cool down before removing the skin. Don’t worry if the skin looks really black, the insides will have a wonderful smokey flavor.
2 or 3 medium-sized eggplant (aubergine)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 tablespoons tahini (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Place eggplants on the grill of a barbecue over medium-high heat. Char the outside of the eggplant, turning occasionally until charred all over. Alternatively, use the broiler in your stove and cook, turning occasionally until very soft. Remove from grill or oven and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool to room temperature. Remove wrap, cut ends off and peel eggplant (discard skin) – the skin should come off easily. If not, the flesh of the eggplant won’t be cooked enough and will taste bitter. Once peeled, chop eggplant flesh and place in a bowl. Add tahini, cumin, lemon juice and mash with a fork or a hand blender. Season and adjust according to taste. Add a splash of olive oil and whip with a fork. Serve with pita bread, crackers, or sliced baguette.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Baba Ganoush can be stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Enjoy!