Monday, November 15, 2010
BABA GHANOUSH -- A GREAT APPETIZER!
It's hard to imagine now, that at my age I had heard of, but never eaten, Baba Ghanoush. I knew it was a famous Greek dish, but wasn't sure what was in it. It surely didn't sound like anything I'd be interested in, and it wasn't high on my priority list of things to try.
All that changed when we ate at Chef Pia's Washington restaurant recently. Pia had a plate of Greek specialties brought to our table, and Baba Ghanoush was on the plate. "What is it?" I asked her. She told me it was eggplant, cooked and mashed, then mixed with tahini, garlic and lemon. Okay, I thought, I like all those ingredients, I'll give it a try. And just like that I became a devotee of Baba Ghanoush. I'm buying eggplant all the time now and eating this wonderful dip with whole grain crackers, though at Chef Pia's it was served with crispy pita sticks. Of course, I'm wondering why I wasted so many years that could have been spent enjoying eggplant in this new way.
One thing I must mention: eggplant is hard for me to digest because of the seemingly millions of tiny seeds. I think there are more seeds in eggplant than flesh. But after I roasted my eggplant, it was easy to separate the seeds and pull them out. This produced a Baba Ghanoush that was easy to digest and so enjoyable. It will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks, at least mine did with no trouble. And now I'm off to roast another eggplant.
Adapted from allrecipes.com
Rating: 10 out of 10
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1 eggplant, medium-large
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini (toasted ground sesame seeds)
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1-1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Heat oven or gas grill to 400F. If using oven, place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Pierce eggplant all around with fork, then place on baking sheet or onto grill over unlit burner. Cook 30-40 minutes,or till soft, turning occasionally. Remove from heat and place into large bowl of cold water. Transfer to cutting board and peel skin off. Cut eggplant into sections and remove as many of the seeds as you can. They should peel off in strips.
In work bowl of food processor, combine eggplant pulp, lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds, and garlic. Pulse till smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and pulse again till combined. Transfer to bowl; refrigerate 3 hours before serving. Serve with toasted pita bread strips, whole grain crackers or veggies.