Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Smoky Baba Ganoush

Smoky Baba Ganoush 
I’ve had my battle with egglant many times, cursing it and vowing never to attempt an eggplant dish again. However, my mom makes the best grilled eggplant that my curiosity for the vegetable is aroused all over again. The secret for grilling sliced eggplant is to remove the bitterness with salt. The salt pulls out the liquid carrying the bitterness, she then rinses it, pats it dry, lightly oils it then grills it. They make for the best sandwiches. My attempts have been grim, especially when adding oil - the eggplant is a sponge and I literally gross out and toss away. My attempt at baba ganoush a year ago resulted in exploded eggplants in my oven because they were large and I forgot to pierce them, what a mess in my broiler. But, I love baba ganoush so here I am again and this is what I’ve come up. In the city I don’t have a grill but I want the smoky flavor, if its wrapped tightly with foil and grilled on a gas stove the smokiness is achieved pretty darn good, but here’s the dilemma, the foil started to burn and my house started to smell, so after 10 minutes on the gas I moved them over to the oven and voila the 10 minutes on gas had already locked in the smoky flavor. So that’s the plan from now on. Smoke on the gas for 10 minutes then transfer and what a wonderful taste. This is my favorite baba ganoush ever and I’m not tooting my horn here. If you have an outdoor grill then char it outside until the skin is black and the eggplant has collapsed, do not foil and definitely pierce all sides with a fork, if you don’t have a grill, follow my method below. I also like the recipe because it’s got very little oil, it doesn’t need more than the 1 tbsp. The roasted garlic is also a nice touch.
Enjoy! And let me know how it works for you!

Makes over 1 cup
1 large eggplant or two medium
1 tbsp tahini
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp minced shallot
2 cloves roasted garlic minced
3 heaping tbsp fresh minced parsley
Pinch cracked red pepper flakes

If you don’t have a grill to roast the peppers here’s what I did to achieve a pretty good smoky flavor.
I used the gas stove top and then transferred to the oven

Pre Heat oven to 500

Pierce the eggplant on all sides a few times, wrap the eggplant with tin foil about two times and seal the ends very well. Roast on the gas stove for 4 minutes one side and 4 minutes the other; you should begin to smell the smoky. Transfer the eggplant to a cookie sheet, leave the foil on and roast for 30 minutes on middle rack, rotate about half way through. Time will be less for smaller eggplants. When done it should feel collapsed. Let cool for a few minutes, cut in half and scoop out as much of the little seeds as you can without removing flesh, the seeds contain bitterness – smaller eggplants aren’t as bitter such as the Japanese eggplant

Roast the garlic with skin on wrapped in foil for 5 minutes, 2 minutes if using gas stove top.

Transfer the eggplant flesh to food processor along with the chopped parsley. In a small bowl combine the tahini, lemon juice, sea salt, shallot, minced garlic and cracked red pepper, add this to the eggplant and blend until smooth,  taste for seasoning.

Enjoy as a crostini, with pita, a side dish or wraps, sandwich etc.

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