This recipe was given to me by my coworker Nancy when we both worked at Ottawa’s United Way. We had a great eggplant-recipe-swap going on because we both understood that eggplants = awesome. And I get why you might not agree with us on this: they’re one of those familiar foods that remain shrouded in mystery when it comes to actually turning them into something. The only eggplants in my childhood were in alphabet illustrations, associated with the letter E. But I’ve come around. Eggplants are delicious, versatile, affordable, and in season right now. So when we had company over last weekend, I broke out Nancy’s recipe for baba ganoush.
Nancy’s recipe came from Martha Stewart’s website, where it’s called a “roasted eggplant dip.” That’s exactly what it is, but this Middle Eastern dish is more commonly known as baba ganoush. Serve it for a crowd, because it makes a significant yield. We eat it as a dip for vegetables and tostitoes, and also as a sandwich spread.
Note: Here’s one thing about eggplants: they’re liars. They will stay puffed and proud in the oven EVEN WHEN they are completely silken and steamed inside. Don’t let them deceive you. Take the eggplant(s) out of the oven after their allotted baking time and let them sit on the stovetop for a minute – if they collapse in on themselves, they’re done and you are good to go. Otherwise, pop them back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so and repeat.
1 large eggplant (or 2 small ones)
4 garlic cloves, skin-on
2 tbsp + 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp tahini
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1. Rub eggplant & garlic with 2 tbsp olive oil. Place them on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the garlic is golden. Remove garlic to a small bowl and set aside. Return the eggplant to the oven and continue roasting for an additional 20-25 minutes. The eggplant should deflate when you remove it from the oven. Let it stand for 20 minutes to cool before slicing it in half and scraping out the flesh.
2. In a blender, add: the eggplant flesh; the garlic cloves, peeled; the lemon juice; tahini; salt; 2 tbsp olive oil. Blend until smooth, adjusting seasonings to taste. Scoop into a bowl & serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a dusting of paprika.