Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baba Ghanoush

. . .or baba ganoush or bābā ghanūj or baba ganush or baba ghannouj or baba ghannoug. Spell it how you like, we are still talking about the same wonderfully smoky, nutty, citrus-y, garlic-y, spicy Middle Eastern appetizer. 

2 large eggplants
4 large garlic cloves
1/3 cup tahini
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup washed cilantro leaves

 Preheat the oven to 375 F 

Wash eggplants and puncture skins several times with a fork or knife. Carefully char eggplants by placing them directly on the flame of a gas burner. Turn frequently and cook until the eggplants are uniformly blackened. If you don't have a gas range you can cook them directly under the broiler or grill them. This step is important though, as it gives the baba ganoush its deep smoky flavor.

Place the eggplants and garlic cloves on an ungreased baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the eggplants are soft and can be easily pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and let cool.

Cut off the stem ends and peel off the skins. After roasting, the eggplant skin should be able to pull off easily. Puree the eggplant pulp, roasted garlic, and tahini in a blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, smoked paprika, salt, and cilantro. Puree until smooth. 
Taste, and season with additional salt and lemon juice, if necessary. Serve drizzled with olive oil, and a sprinkling of paprika and cilantro. I highly recommend making a batch of homemade sesameand sea salt crackers to go with this. 

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