Sunday, August 21, 2011

baba ghanouj, ganoush, ganush - how about eggplant dip!

This recipe is inspired by a couple of my favorite food TV folks. America's Test Kitchen and Alton Brown. About 2 minutes in to the attached AB does something very clever with the eggplant! This dip is not terribly labor intensive and absolutely delicious with some warm pita and olives. The ATK recipe comes from 2001, I think

2 large eggplants (aubergines, melanzane) rubbed lightly with vegetable oil
1T Tahini
2 cloves garlic made into a paste (a garlic press is the easiest way)
1T Extra virgin olive oil
1T fresh lemon juice (more or less to taste)
salt, pepper to taste

Turn the grill on to high (or if using charcoal, get a good fire going. You want lots of heat for this). Let the grill heat for 15 min or so. Meanwhile wash the skins of the eggplants, pat dry and lightly coat with vegetable oil. Pierce the skin of the eggplants with the point of a sharp knofe about 60 times - all over.
When the grill is nice and hot, place the eggplants directly on the bars over the heat. Grill for about 40 minutes turning occasionally. The skin will blacken and juices will run out. They almost collapse.

When they are nice and black and collapsed, transfer to a rimmed dish and allow to cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, wrap each egg plant in cling wrap. Then snip the stalk end off the eggplant, squeeze the flesh out into a strainer. This is illustrated 2 minutes into the Alton Brown video. This technique is so much easier than trying to slit the skin and scrape out the flesh.

Once it has drained for about 5 minutes, discard the liquid and put the flesh into a bowl. Add the tahini, garlic and olive oil and mix thoroughly with a fork. Add the lemon juice, mix and taste. Add salt/pepper until it has the desired level of seasoning. Refrigerate 6+ hours and serve.

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