Baba ganoush! What a funny-sounding name for a food, especially since I have no Mediterranean heritage to justify using such terminology. What I should really call it is “eggplant hummus” or “one more attempt to start liking eggplant at all”. Because it’s true– I don’t like eggplant very much. I’ve tried it in various forms, and haven’t really gotten anything above a “meh” from my tastebuds (until this recipe!). Yes, I enjoy eggplant parmesan as much as the next person, but I tend toward the philosophy that if you have to add breading, frying, or a whole lot of cheese in order to like eating something, then you don’t actually like that food very much.
However, this recipe might mark the beginning of a new friendship between me and the mysterious purple vegetable. I’ve actually tried baba ganoush in the past (“maybe I’ll like it if it turns into hummus?”) with severely bitter and disappointing results. This time, I looked up more recipes (this one in particular) and learned that my problem might be insufficient roasting of the eggplant. Thinking bac, I didn’t remember my finished eggplant being as brown and roasted and mushy as the pictures I was seeing, so this time around I tried to be extra thorough in my roasting of the ingredient. It actually kind of took awhile, but the results were 100% worth it.
I’d imagine the quality of eggplant really affects the outcome as well. In this case I had been given a big, beautiful, locally-grown specimen rather than bland/bitter supermarket versions. I’ve heard that smaller varieties like Chinese or Japanese eggplant generally have less flavor issues as well. So if you can (or grow!) get some quality eggplant, I’d use that.
Anywho, here’s the recipe:
Baba Ganoush Recipe
1 enormous eggplant, or several smaller ones (1.5 – 2 pounds)
2-3 cloves garlic, roasted
1/4 cup tahini
1 fresh lemon (for juice)
Roast your eggplant on a pan in a 400-450 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. It may take longer than this to be done, but that should get you in the ballpark. Cut into the eggplant; it should be mostly browned and mushy without much or any pale green anywhere. You lose a lot of volume due to water loss and other mysterious science, so you might want to double the recipe if you have more than 2 or 3 people.
Scoop the innards of the eggplant into a bowl or food processor. Many people say just to mash it up with a fork; I had some texture issues (aka I didn’t like it) when I did that in the past, so this time around I gave it a short trip in the processor to get a different consistency. Add in your tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and mash/pulse briefly to combine. Taste and adjust salt or add olive oil depending on how dry it is.
Enjoy with bread (especially pita or flatbread, but anything will do) and some other vegetables for a light meal, or as part of a big Mediterranean feast! Let me know how it goes!