When I used to live in Falls Church, VA there was a Greek market on Route 7 that had the best Baba Ganoush aka roasted eggplant dip. Creamy, smoky, salted just right, and for years I couldn’t figure out how they got that smokey flavor into it.
Now I understand that many people either aren’t familiar with or think they don’t like eggplant. But fear not, there is a reason they call this dish “eggplant caviar.” Because it’s that good.
Spread on crostini, as a dip with pita bread or pita chips (recipe coming soon!), or with crackers, this is a healthy, delicious snack, hors’d’oeuvre, and spread.
After testing numerous recipes and cooking methods, I finally hit upon it. And it’s not hard at all. It just takes patience and going out of your comfort zone a bit. I like to use roasted garlic in this recipe for additional depth.
Burn That Eggplant!
Fortunately, you can do this both on a grill (best) and in your oven (good). The trick is cooking the eggplant beyond where you think it is done.
You have to let it really cook and char. It’s the char on the skin that gets you the delicious smoky flavor and black flecks that will make your Baba Ganoush shine. Cooking it “too” long will also help reduce some of the liquid in the eggplant. I beg to differ with those who would remove the charred skin and flesh.
If you’re using your oven, broil the eggplant not too close to the heating elements, on medium (not high) and really cook it through until it is absolutely falling apart. Better to cook it slowly and thoroughly through than burn it on the outside and have tough pieces of eggplant inside.
When shopping for eggplant, look for firm, shiny ones that don’t have any indentations and spring back to the touch. You can use the large purple type which are commonly found in most grocery stores, as well as other types.
Lots of Tahini in my recipe, I like it really creamy. I also like using lemon zest to give it extra zing.
- 2-3 large eggplants
- 3-5 cloves garlic fresh or roasted
- 1/2 cup tahini
- Juice of 2 lemons and zest of one lemon
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Chopped Parsley for Garnish
- Smoked Paprika for Garnish
Wash eggplants and remove stem from top. Cut in half leaving skin on.
Brush both flesh and skin sides with generously with extra virgin olive oil.
Place skin side up on a foil lined sheet pan if broiling. If grilling, place on a well-oiled, clean grill skin side down.
Allow to cook until well charred, then turn and cook some more on other side. Make sure all the flesh has become completely soft before removing.
Allow to cool thoroughly. Gather up a half eggplant or what will fit in your two hands, and over a colander, squeeze out any excess fluid. This is crucial to getting a Baba Ganoush that is not too watery. Repeat with all the eggplant.
Place garlic, tahini, lemon juice and cooked eggplant in a food processor in that order. Process using the pulse function until well blended. Taste for salt and lemon juice, add more if needed.
You may use additional tahini if you like your Baba Ganoush especially creamy like I do mine.
Serve at room temperature in a shallow bowl. Make an indentation and add in the extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle with chopped parsley and smoked paprika to finish.