Whilst aubergines, also known as brinjils or eggplant are actually classified as Autumn Vegetables you may have noticed that there are still plenty of these beautifully plump and regally purple beauties in store.
On a recent trip to the store I bought a few and this is obviously not something I do often as my kiddos, despite having eaten both my moussaka and my melanzane parmigiana, claimed never to have seen “these things” before.
Once home I knew that I wanted to make a batch of Baba Ganoush, something I haven’t eaten in a very long while, but remember loving. I half-heartedly searched though some old recipes looking for the one I had, but soon gave that up and took my search to Pinterest, my favourite go to.
I visited Minimalist Baker’s recipe, which delivers exactly what it promises, a simple Baba Ganoush. But, as you know, I tend to lean to anything Parisian and finally it was David Lebovitz’s Baba Ganoush that drew me in. In particular, this paragraph which he wrote in that same post:
I like my Baba Ganoush super-smoky, and leave the eggplants on the stovetop for a good ten minutes, but for most people, that’s probably too much. Five or so minutes, until the skin gets a bit charred, is probably right for most “normal” folks. If you have smoked salt, you can use that to give it another hit of smoked flavor, too.
“Well, Mr. Lebovitz” I thought, “I might like a little smoky in my Baba Ganoush, I will give your way a go”. Friends, it turns out, I REALLY, REALLY DON’T. My first batch of Baba Ganoush tasted as smokey as a firepit smells in the early morning after a bonfire. Decidedly unpalatable.
It turns out, in Mr. Lebovitz’s opionin at least, that I am “normal” after all. Since that day all aubergines for Baba Ganoush made in this house are smoked for exactly five minutes and not a single minute more, following which my appreciation of this Middle Eastern brinjil puree can continue.
Along with dips and spreads and patés, Baba Ganoush is a ready accompaniment to that pre dinner snack business. Come to think of it, I am not exactly sure when serving a delicate starter morphed into serving snacks and other nibbles before the main meal at casual dinner parties. Whatever the reason, I admit that I often do it too. With the exception that I make a few quick and easy flatbreads to serve alongside my dips, because I am fancy like that.
Over to you then, smoked or not smoked? How do you like your Baba Ganoush?
- 2 aubergines
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup tahini paste
- 15 ml (1 T) olive oil
- 30 ml (2 T) lemon juice
- 2.5 ml (½ t) ground cumin
- freshly ground salt and black pepper
- Prick each aubergine a few times.
- Place the aubergines directly on the flame of a gas burner to char the skins. Turn the aubergines to char evenly on all sides, remove after five minutes.
- Place the aubergines on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and roast in an oven preheated to 190˚C for 20 or until soft.
- Cool the aubergines before slicing in half.
- Remove the aubergine pulp from the skins and place the pulp in a large bowl.
- Add the garlic, tahini paste, olive oil, lemon juice and cumin. Puree using a stick blender (or processor) until the dip is smooth.
- Season to taste with the salt and pepper and additional lemon juice if needed.
- To serve, drizzle the Baba Ganoush with extra olive oil and serve with warm flat breads.