Authentic Baba Ghannouj... or When Eggplant Meets Tahini

It's difficult to translate the name Baba Ghannouj literally because there isn't one word that captures the adjective "Ghannouj" but I'm going to try. When someone, usually children or girls up into their early 20's, act cutesy, shy and cuddly we say they are a "ghannouj" for a male, or a "ghannouji" for a female.

Baba means father.. so Baba Ghannouj means Dad is being cutesy and cuddly!

Now here is my creative genius at work:

The term fits the unusual looking Eggplant... perhaps because it has to act cutesy and shy to tempt us into eating it! Or, it could be that this dish is so yummy, that Father had to act all cutesy and shy before he had the nerve to ask the Mom to make it!

Choose your version... either way... it's delicious!  :)

Recipe

  • 1 large organic Eggplant (close to 1 lb)
  • 2 medium cloves organic Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/4 - 1/3 c. freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 c. Sesame Tahini, mixed well to incorporate oil Garnish:
  • 2 tsp. virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbs. chopped organic Parsley
  • Pomegranate seeds (opt.)
  • Sprig of fresh Mint

Charring the Eggplant

Remove leaves from around stem, but don't but stem off.  You'll need to use it as a 'handle'. Cut several small gashes around the eggplant to allow steam to escape during charring.

Place Eggplant in preheated 375º oven, and bake for 30 minutes, or until outside is crisp and inside is soft.

Allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Holding by stem, cut open eggplant and scoop out the flesh into colander. Discard the skin and stem.

Drain for about 10 minutes. Allowing the liquid to drain will eliminate the bitterness.

Making the Dip

Mash garlic with salt in a mortar and pestle until a smooth paste. Scrape into a medium bowl, and add eggplant pulp. Mash together with pestle until it is of uniform consistency with very few lumps.  (Small ones are ok).

Add the lemon and mix, then add the Tahini and mix again until well incorporated.

Once cool, cover and refrigerate for an hour.

Transfer Baba Ghannouj to a shallow serving dish.  Wet the back of a large spoon, and use it to smooth the surface of the dip, leaving a raised rim, much like a pie crust. Keep a small mound in the center so you've created a moat around it.

Decorate the center with sprig of mint, or a carved red radish. Sprinkle parsley around the rim in clumps, alternating with pomegranate seeds...or create your own pattern.

Drizzle olive oil into 'moat'.

Serve with whole wheat Pita bread, or crudités.

~ Sahtein!