Baba Ganoush, or Mutabal, is a dip or spread made with roasted eggplant, olive oil, tahini and lemon. My recipe research and memory from reading gags of cookbooks and cooking magazines over the years yielded little variation on this recipe, and for good reason: it’s so good with just those four ingredients. I’ve also seen cumin included, and of course there’s salt and pepper.
One of the things I really love about Baba is the flavor and texture the eggplant takes on after roasting in the oven. It becomes rich and unctuously smooth and smoky. I wondered how it would taste with the inclusion of the actual skin of the eggplant, which is always discarded after roasting. I’ve always been a skin girl; I am the one who asks for everyone’s uneaten baked potato skins to crisp them up in the following days to house my poached or scrambled or fried eggs for breakfast. Also, the more crispy and cooked the skin, the better. Not surprisingly, using the eggplant’s skin was to my liking and I didn’t find any “off” or bitter flavors.
I love the simplicity of the Baba preparation: you can roast your eggplant over open flame, grill it, or in an oven. I put it in the oven at about 350 F for about 2 to 3 hours. Then into the blender, food processor, or mortar & pestle. It is a great lazy person’s recipe. This particular week I did not have any tahini on hand, but I did have a jar of sesame seeds, so I simply pureed them with light olive oil to make my own “tahini.”
Wait, is there something missing? Yes, burgers of course.
- 4 large eggplants
- 1/2 cup tahini, or 1 cup sesame seeds pureed with 1/2 cup olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- Place eggplants on foil in a 350F oven and roast for at least 2 hours.
- When eggplants are cool enough to handle, remove stems and place in food processor or blender. With the skin!
- Add tahini, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Puree for about 1 minute, pulsing as needed. Taste and correct for seasoning. Enjoy with pita or other flatbreads, and your choice of accompaniments such as falafel, olives, yogurt, salad greens.