Friday, March 23, 2012

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush is a Mediterranean appetizer similar to hummus, but roasted eggplant is used in place of garbanzo beans. Like hummus, there are several variations, but the original uses a few aromatic ingredients to bring that genuine Mediterranean flair to your table. While visiting Greece a couple years ago, I remember the incredible food for its pure and uncomplicated nature. Any American can go to a local restaurant for an appetizer that packs in a salty sweet fatty combination that sends your taste buds into overdrive. I challenge you to dial it down with something simpler and fresh like this baba ganoush. Freshness has an authenticity of its' own.

Tahini is a paste of ground sesame seeds and the distinctive ingredient in hummus and baba ganoush. You should be able to find it in the ethnic food aisle of your grocery store. It's usually way at the top.

Baba Ganoush

2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
3 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons tahini
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
pinch of cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place peeled and cubed eggplant on large cookie sheet or baking dish. Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper until well coated.
2. Roast eggplant, turning occassionally, until tender and begins to brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. During last 10 minutes, add garlic cloves. This will produce a more mild garlic flavor.
3. When eggplant and garlic cool, add to mixing bowl with remaining ingredients. Using an immersion blender or electric mixer, beat gently until baba ganoush has a smooth consistency.
4. Serve chilled or at room temperature (traditional) with fresh vegetable dippers and pita wedges.


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