For years, I thought eggplant was a disgusting vegetable. Bitter, mushy yet fibrous, it had no redeeming qualities for me. And then I learned how to cook it. It’s always a process. You can’t just eat it as it is. When making baba ganoush, which is probably my favourite eggplant dish, the roasting of the whole eggplant gives it a rich, smokiness. Draining and removing as much of the eggplant juice and seeds abolishes much of the bitterness. Emulsifying it with tahini, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon, and olive oil reveals its hidden, creamy, deliciousness. As much as I love a good hummus, baba ganoush is so much more delectable. I hope that you eggplant haters will give this a try. It worked on me.
A couple of words about this dish. Do not forget to prick the skin of the eggplant. Get stabby with it. I had one explode and I do not want this to happen to you. It stayed in one piece, more or less, but the sound scared the living daylights out of me. Also, don’t worry about the excess, puddling olive oil. Eggplant sucks up oil like a greedy little piggy. It only adds to the richness and decadence of this dish. You’ll love it.
Baba Ganoush with Pita Crisps
- rimmed cookie sheet, colander, and a food processor
Baba Ganoush Dip
- 1 to 2 large eggplants, about 2 lbs total
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- pinch ground cumin
- pinch sumac
- 3 tbsp parsley leaves
- 3 pita labnani or Greek pita if not available
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for brushing
- 3 tbsp za'atar seasoning
- Preheat oven to 450F
- Prick holes and rub oil on skin of eggplants and set on cookie sheet that has been lined with foil, shiny side down. Place in preheated oven and roast for approximately 1 hour or until eggplants collapse on themselves.
- Take eggplants out of the oven and carefully open them to release steam and to allow them to cool enough to handle. Leave oven on for pita crisps.
- Scoop insides of eggplants into a colander, removing as many seeds as possible. Allow to drain.
- Add tahini, salt, pepper, garlic, 1/4 the parsley and 3/4 of the lemon juice to the food processor.
- Squeeze excess moisture out of the eggplant flesh and then add to food processor.
- Blend ingredients while pouring oil in to the working food processor. Stop, taste, adjust seasoning and resume blending and pouring oil until the consistency is to your liking, reserving a tablespoon or so of oil for finishing.
- Place blended ingredients in a serving bowl.
- Add sumac and cumin to remaining oil. Swirl into baba ganoush, letting the oil form puddles.
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley leaves.
- Brush pita labnani with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with za'atar seasoning. Cut into triangles.
- Place pita triangles on cookie sheet and let brown in oven for about 4 or 5 minutes, until golden and crisp.