Thursday, October 14, 2010

Baba Ghanouj

This eggplant dip is a Middle Eastern classic; unlike some supermarket versions, you won’t find any mayonnaise here. Serve with pita bread (Arab style, not Greek) or raw veg for dipping.

1 very large or 2 medium eggplants
2 cloves garlic, puréed
cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
¼ – cup tahini*
¼ tsp ground cumin (optional)
salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F. Prick skin of eggplant on all sides, place on a pan pr sheet of foil (to catch drips) and roast, turning occasionally, for 30 – 60 minutes, until very tender. Allow eggplant to cool until safe to handle, peel off skin, rough chop, then set it in a colander to cool completely and drain any excess juices.

Add eggplant and remaining ingredients to food processor and process until very smooth. Taste and adjust salt as necessary. Can be served right away, or refrigerated for several hours to firm it up.

To serve, spread in a shallow dish, drizzle with olive oil and top with finely chopped parsley, plus any (or all, except the pomegranate) of the following:

Pine nuts, toasted
Tomatoes, seeded and diced
Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
Pomegranate seeds

*Tahini is ground sesame seed paste, very similar to natural peanut butter. A staple in many Middle Eastern dishes, it can be found in most supermarkets and bulk food stores, and has an indefinite shelf life. Like natural peanut butter, it separates over time and must be stirred to reincorporate the oil before using.

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