I remember the first time I had baba ganoush. I was at Greek restaurant in Savannah with a friend and she insisted it was to die for. The waiter brought out a mezze platter and in the middle was a small bowl of a slightly lumpy looking brown mush. It did not make a good first impression. I was not as accustomed to trying all kinds of new things then but my friend dug in and if nothing else I didn't want to be rude. So I timidly took a bit too. Thankfully it was nothing at all like I was expecting. In fact it was delicious. I mean, would I have really bothered to figure out how to make a nasty food at home? Ok, actually I personally might, but not this time.
This Levantine classic shares characteristics with hummus, another regional favorite, but is still distinct. The eggplant lends a delicious flavor that is wonderfully complimented by the techina and lemon.
1 large eggplant
4 - 6 large cloves garlic, whole
Olive oil for brushing
2 Tbsp. tahini paste
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. Olive oil for pureeing
large pinch cumin
Lots of fresh chopped parsley
Preheat your oven to 400.
Cut the eggplant in to quarters lengthwise and brush the garlic and the cut sides of the eggplant with olive oil. Place on a pan and roast until the eggplant is golden brown, charred in spots, and cooked through.
Remove from the oven and place in a Tupperware with a lid or wrap in tinfoil until cool enough to handle.
Scrap the eggplant from the purple skin and place in a food processor. Add the tahini, salt and pepper, juice of half the lemon, one tablespoon of olive oil, and a large pinch of cumin. Turn on and run for a few seconds. Pulse to get it in to small chunks, but not completely smooth.
Remove to a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and top with plenty of fresh parsley. I also sprinkled mine with a pinch of tiny bit of paprika for color.
Serve with pita wedges, corn chips, pretzels, or whatever else floats your boat.