Saturday, October 18, 2008

Baba Ghanoush

I just got back from a short trip (to Rome... sigh), and since the farmer's markets are only on weekends here and I arrived in the middle of the week, my mother was kind enough to load me down with all sorts of vegetables upon my arrival, including two lovely little eggplants. I'd been meaning to make baba ghanoush for awhile, so this weekend seemed like a good time to try.

Baba ghanoush is a Middle Eastern spread, pretty similar to Hummus, except you use eggplants instead of chickpeas. It's usually served cold, as an appetizer, but since I made mine fresh it was still warm from the roasted eggplants, and it was really good! I didn't make enough to have any left over, but if you refrigerate it for a day or so it probably tastes just as good, if not better.

You will need:
2 small or 1 medium eggplant
A large spoonful of tahini
Juice of half a lemon
Some fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to about 355º F/180º C. While it's preheating, wash and dry the eggplant(s), tear off any large leaves at the top, and poke holes in the skins with a fork. When the oven is hot, place the eggplants on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and put them in the oven. Let them bake about 30 minutes or so, turning them every so often so that they bake evenly.

When the skin of the eggplants is all black and wrinkly, take them out of the oven and let them cool for about 15 minutes. While they are cooling, rinse and chop up the parsley.

Once the eggplants are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and place the inside (pulp? innards?) on a cutting board. Chop up the eggplant into smallish chunks. Though you could also mash the eggplant or use a food processor, leaving the eggplant in chunks gives the whole thing a more rough-hewn, fresh from the fields (do eggplants grow in fields? probably not) sort of look.

Mix up the eggplants with the tahini, lemon juice, and parsley, and sprinkle everything with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with bread/crackers/grain-based food of your choice or else refrigerate and eat later.

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