Baba Ghanoush

This dish is a must for a meze platter or to begin a Middle Eastern Dinner. I love the smoky flavor that barbecuing the eggplant gives this dish.

Barbecue the eggplant until completely soft, do not worry about over cooking.  After peeling, draining the eggplant in a wire mesh sieve removes potential bitter flavor.  If still bitter, remove some of the seeds.  A freshly picked, summer eggplant is rarely bitter.  This recipe is from Claudia Roden’s, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.  Please view the post associated with this recipe by clicking here.

Serves 8

2 pounds eggplants
1 garlic clove, crushed then minced
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons (seasame paste)
Juice of 1 or 2 lemons or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Optional garnish: 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and
           1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Broil, roast or grill the eggplants until completely soft inside.  Once cool enough to handle, peel them, letting the soft flesh fall into a small mesh colander, mashing the eggplant with a fork, letting the bitter juices run out.  Place pulp into a food processor, add garlic, salt, tahini paste, lemon and cumin; pulse until combined.  You can also mix the ghanoush by hand for a more textured dip.  Taste for seasoning and add more salt and/or lemon until the flavor is right for your palate.

Pour the eggplant into a shallow dish and garnish, if you like, with a dribble of olive oil and a sprinkling of parsley.  Serve with Pita, Pita Chips or Lavash Chips.

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