You may not know this until you're already into the thick of it, but eggplant is a rather prolific plant. If you don't know what to do with it straight off, you might find yourself overwhelmed with the stuff. I find that eggplant is a rather polarizing fruit (yes, it's a fruit), where people either love it or hate it. I'm one of the freakshows that are actually ambivalent to it! I am not offended by it, nor will I ever seek it out. I will say that I do love a good eggplant parmesan, but when I received a boon of eggplant in my CSA share, I fully admit to being at a loss.
I don't love eggplant enough for it to be fried alone as a side dish, but I don't dislike it enough for it to be kept out of my diet altogether. I didn't, however, want to subject my husband to a big eggplant parmesan because he doesn't like it. Since we both love Mediterranean food, though, I thought I'd give baba ganoush a try.
I do not claim this to be an accurate or authentic baba ganoush. I only claim for it to be tasty and inoffensive to those that aren't the hugest fans of eggplant. I simply used my oven and the blender to make a smooth-as-silk puree to go along with dinner. My husband mixed it with his rice for flavor, and my baby had fun both eating it and playing in it. Here's how you make it!
Basic Blender Baba Ganoush
- 2 large eggplants
- 10 cloves garlic (this is an estimate, as I used an entire small head of garlic)
- 1/4 c good olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Ample salt and chopped cilantro
- **A heaping tablespoon of tahini (I didn't put any in mine just because I didn't have any on-hand and nobody arrested me, but if you can, you really should in order to be faithful to the flavor profile.)
This is super easy. Cut the eggplant in half and salt heavily. Let sit for a while until a bunch of mosture and bitterness comes out. Dab the eggplant with paper towels and lay face down on a sheet pan.
Roast the eggplant at 300 until super soft, about an hour. Let cool. Meanwhile, roast the garlic in the 1/4 c olive oil until incredibly soft, which only takes 15 minutes or so. This gives you a gorgeous garlic flavor! If you like, you can add a tablespoon of whole coriander seeds to the oil to get those gorgeous Mediterranean flavors going. Oregano is nice, too!
Scoop the cooled flesh of the eggplant into a strainer to squeeze out excess water. Add this drained flesh to the pitcher of a blender. Add all of the other remaining ingredients and simply blend until smooth. You can do all of this in a mortar and pestle, which is a lovely thing to do when you have it, but because I wanted butter-smooth dip I went ahead and used the blender.
You're likely going to want to taste this for salt, coriander, etc., so go ahead and do that before you plate it. I added plenty of chopped cilantro to the bottom of the bowl and stirred all of it up before eating. You can use this as a spread on a sandwich, as a dip for a good pita, or with fresh vegetables. I personally love grilled zucchini with baba ganoush, along with some lemon and fresh mint.
We had this along with some roasted chicken with preserved lemon and plenty of turmeric for a beautiful gold color. We also had a plate of sliced cucumber, grilled zucchini, fresh bell pepper, and other fresh vegetables. The baby loved it, of course, and my meat-and-potatoes husband was even able to tolerate the eggplant-heavy dish. I highly recommend giving this a shot if you've got picky or particular eaters in the house. I especially think this is great for kids, who won't know this is eggplant. Heck, spread it on a turkey sandwich instead of mayo!
I love this recipe because it's quick, it's easy, and it's incredibly low-effort for the result you get. I fully recognize that I'm not a baba ganoush authority, but this is tasty and a good way to use up eggplant, so I say: go for it!
Thanks so much for spending some of your day or night with me. Happy cooking and happy eating!
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