in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Baba Ganoush - Eggplant Spread

My brother Craig brought me these sun-bleached beauties last week and I made some baba ganoush with them. He also brought me a BOX full of pomegranates, so watch for some jewel studded recipes soon. Thanks Craiger!
Baba Ganoush
3 eggplants
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup tahini paste
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 to 5 tablespoons Pomegranate Sauce or syrup, optional
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place eggplants on a baking dish and roast for 40 minutes. Peel and quarter the onion. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Roast it and the whole garlic cloves with the eggplant for the last 20 to 25 minutes. Remove veggies from oven and allow to cool until you can handle them. With a sharp knife, pull the skin off the eggplant and break open. Remove as many of the seeds as possible by hand and discard. Chop the flesh roughly and put in a mixing bowl. Chop onion and add. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin into the bowl. Using an immersion blender, puree the veggies. Stir in the salt, olive oil, tahini paste, lime juice and cumin. Taste to adjust seasonings. Serve warm or cold garnished with olive oil and pomegranate preserves or pomegranate syrup. Spread on pita bread or naan.
Hints: This spread or dip can be very smooth or a bit chunky, depending on how you like it. An immersion blender is great but you could use a regular blender, food processor or even a potato masher. Roasting the garlic and onion along with the eggplant imparts a mellow, caramelized flavor that is delightful. The sweetness of the preserves or syrup is wonderful but not necessary to enjoy the baba ganoush. And you could spread it on sour dough bread if you don't have naan or pita, but I will be sharing a recipe for naan in a day or so and it is quite easy. Tahini paste is a distinctive flavor used in both baba ganoush and hummus. A jar of it will keep in the fridge for quite a while. It may be hard to find--I can only get it at Smith's here in town-but it is worth the search.

I thoroughly enjoy trying out different types of food. Whenever I hear of a new restaurant that is out of the ordinary, I can't wait to try it and often when I try new foods, I want to learn to make them myself. Exploring culinary artistry is one of my favorite pastimes. I had baba ganaush at a middle eastern restaurant the first time and thought it was a great way to serve eggplant. I also love Italian style eggplant.  If you know of a great way to cook eggplant, tell me about it--or invite me to lunch! 

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