Baba Ghannouj

I make hummus all the time. I just love having it in the fridge as an easy snack, and it’s rare that I don’t have all the ingredients on hand. Baba ghannouj, on the other had, is a little more “special occasion” to me. The ingredients are pretty similar, with smoky eggplant rather than garbanzo beans, but the process is slightly more complicated.

There’s the charring of the eggplant that has to come first, and that takes a little more effort than just opening a can of garbanzos.

Some people recommend roasting the eggplant in a hot oven, others suggest putting it under the broiler. I will stick with the burner on my gas oven, even if it makes a little bit of a mess. The most crucial thing is to make sure the skin gets very charred, and the whole eggplant is very soft. Once that’s accomplished, the rest is easy! Like hummus, you’ll want to play around with the amounts listed. Some people like a lot of lemon, others prefer more garlic. When I have fresh mint around, I love to chop up a few leaves and mix them in to add another layer of flavor.

1 large eggplant
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp olive oil
fresh mint (optional)

Place the eggplant over a gas burner and turn every few minutes until all the skin is black and charred and the entire eggplant is very soft. Place in a bowl and cover with a clean towel. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, scrape off and discard the skin (I like to use a paring knife to scrape it off). Put the eggplant into the food processor (if there are a lot of large seeds, throw them out, but most of the time I don’t bother).

Peel the garlic and mash it up with the salt in a small mortar and pestle. Once you have a smooth paste, add it to the food processor with the remaining ingredients. Pulse until smooth, then taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve garnished with fresh mint

2 Responses to “Baba Ghannouj”

  1. 1 Cara February 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Cate, my husband makes a fuss every time I roast peppers over the gas burner – little does he know food bloggers are doing the same thing with eggplant 🙂 I’ve never made baba ganoush, but I’m sure once I do, he’ll be so thrilled with the smokey eggplant flavor that he won’t care where it came from.

  2. 2 Wizzy February 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Roasted eggplant is amazing! I have never tried it with these ingredients. I agree with you about the burner. You absolutely have to char the skin with the flame. It doesn’t taste the same when done in the oven.

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