30 August 2009

Baba Ghanoush. Dip for eggplant lovers.

Basically, I hate eggplants. Especially if they are soggy, mushy, bland and/or bitter. Or even soaked with oil floating in a boring tomato sauce. Horrible.
A year ago I discovered that eggplants - also called aubergines - actually CAN taste good, as long as you cut them in 1 cm thick slices, lace them with garlic and put them on the BBQ until they are dark brown and soft.

And then we went to a Persian restaurant and ordered a mezze platter. There were all those incredibly tasty dips: hummus, some kind of tzatziki, spinach with yogurt, olives, feta and this really tasty dip where I couldn't place what it tasted like or what it contained. Can you believe my shock when the waiter told me it consisted mostly of eggplant! Since then, I always have to remember myself that I like eggplant, at least in some very specific preparations.


1 large eggplant
1 lemon, juice only
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon tahini (or peanut butter)
1 package / 200 g / 1 cup yogurt (Greek style if possible)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin or ras-el-hanout (seasoning for cous-cous)

Heat up your oven to 200°C/400°F. Stab the eggplant several times with a knife, then put it in the oven and leave it there for 30 min or until the skin is shriveled and black and the whole thing feels soft.
By the way, always punch a few holes in vegetable skins before putting them into the oven, many people report exploding vegetables (just have a go in Google). Not that this would terribly dangerous in a closed oven, but imagine having to clean every nook and cranny!

Get the eggplant out of the oven, grab a large knife and split it in half. Let. It. Cool. I burned my fingers because I was too impatient.
Now it's time to scoop out the "meat" and I found that the ice cream scoop you see in the picture is perfect for the job. Or just use a regular large spoon.

Once you have removed the skin, place the "meat" into a tall container, add the rest of the ingredients and puree it with an immersion blender until everything is smooth. As I don't have a food processor I use this method, but feel free to give it a few spins in the food processor if you have one.

I know, it's not a pretty sight. But don't let that intimidate you, the taste is great!
Serve with nice pita or focaccia bread, some olives and a glass of cold white wine. Perfect snack for hot summer evenings.


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