Baba ganoush, like hummus, is a relish made throughout the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia). They are often eaten together as meze, or side dishes, and are typically enjoyed with some olives, pita bread, and fresh cut vegetables. Baba ganoush is a sumptuous, savory, creamy, and smokey dish. The basis of baba ganoush is just a few simple ingredients: roasted eggplant, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. The secret is to make sure to caramelize the eggplant in the oven really well as it is traditionally cooked over an open wood fire.
There are many variations of eggplant dip found throughout the Mediterranean region. For instance, mutabbal, a Middle Eastern appetizer includes yogurt, pomegranate molasses, and a bit of dried red chili pepper as well as the regular ingredients found in baba ganoush. Salat hatzilim, an Israeli variant, substitutes the tahini with a roast garlic and caramelized onion mayonnaise. Still other regional variations spice the dish with cumin, coriander, fresh mint, or fresh parsley.
Etymologically the words baba ganoush come from Arabic. Baba is a term of endearment that means “father”, “grandfather”, or “dad”. While ganoush can mean either “flirtatious”, “spoiled”, or “pampered”. Baba ganoush literally means “spoiled grandapa” or “pampared dad”! The Oxford English Dictionary purports the dish to have been named after it’s supposed invention by a member of a royal harem.
This baba ganoush recipe is perhaps a bit more like a mutabbal as it incorporates a couple fresh garlic cloves and some minced fresh parsley for a little kick. If you want your baba ganoush to be a little lighter in color don’t roast it as long as I did. I, however, think that the smokier the better! After the eggplants have cooled and you have scooped them out, put the flesh in a colander for a bit to drain off any excess moisture. This dish is best after it sits for a day in the fridge and all the ingredients marry. Enjoy with the same accompaniments as hummus!
Feathered Pipe’s Baba Ganoush
Makes 4 – 6 servings
— 4 medium-sized eggplants
— 3/4 cup tahini
— 2-3 garlic cloves
— 1 tablespoon parsley, fresh minced
— salt & pepper to taste
— Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Place cut side down on a sheet pan lightly oiled with olive oil blend.
— Roast in a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven until the skin is charred and the interior is fully cooked., 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let the eggplant stand until cool enough to handle.
— Scrape the eggplant pulp from the skin into a food processor or mixer. Add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blend until mixture is smooth and homogeneous. If it is too thick add 2 tablespoons of water and continue blending.
— When smooth, add the parsley and pulse to incorporate. Adjust seasoning.
— Refrigerate before service. Serve as spread with pita, crackers, or chips.
— Store in an air tight refrigerated container for up to 1 week.