So I’ve been spending a lot of time on FB Questions and took some time to answer ‘What are the secrets to making an excellent baba ganoush?‘ Seriously, my answer is just too good to keep to myself and on FB, so I decided to share here too. So here we go!
(photo courtesy of tastyeatsathome)
Q: ‘What are the secrets to making an excellent baba ganoush?’
The same secrets to making all simple dishes standout: ingredients, time, care and attention to the little things. For this particular dish, ask yourself these questions before making.
- Are eggplants in season?
- Where are you purchasing the ingredients? (farmer’s market, deli, grocery store, etc., etc.)
- How are you choosing which eggplants to purchase? (do you grab the first eggplants within reach or do you choose which ones to use in your cooking?)
- How are you preparing the eggplant? (gas, electric, grill, oven, microwave -nuking eggplants for this recipe is not recommended- etc.)
- What kind of salt (table salt, sea salt, etc.), olive oil or pepper (table pepper, ground pepper, fresh ground pepper, etc.) are you using?
With that in mind, here is my baba ghanouj recipe, adapted from David Lebovitz and The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual:
- 2-3 medium sized eggplants
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- White pepper
- 1/4 cup of tahini
- 3 tbsps of lemon juice
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- Fresh ground black pepper
1. Pre heat oven to 450. Slick eggplant skin with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and white pepper. Put on baking sheet and bake for 45min to an hour, or until the skin is blistered. It’s ok if the skin is charred as the innards still stay edible. If you prefer a more smokey flavor, then burn the eggplant to a crisp. If less smokey, then pull out when the insides are tender and collapsing-soft.
2. Remove eggplants and cool for 5-10 minutes – I lay them on a cutting board – then pull apart the top layer of the burnt skin, just a large enough opening to stick a spoon in -think of it as a baked potato-, and scoop the creamy innards into a mixing bowl. Becareful when you pull open the skin, as the steam may hit you in the face (happened to me a few times.)
3. Add olive oil, salt and white pepper to eggplant mixture, stir well to combine and taste. Add more salt, pepper and/or oil as you see fit.
4. Add tahini, lemon and garlic. Mix until smooth (you can puree in food processor but I prefer to manually mix while the eggplant is still warm.) Taste and add more lemon, olive oil, garlic as necessary.
5. Chill for a few hours and sprinkle with black pepper before serving.
And there you have it. My very first recipe. Do you have any tips, tricks or maybe a different recipe you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it!
– Tahini: you can make your own or buy in a jar. I’ve tried both and found an awesome jarred tahini, this Lebanese brand called Al Wadi.
– How to shop for eggplants
– Since I don’t own a grill, I use a toaster oven instead of a regular oven when roasting vegetables; it’s a Japanese thing. Luckily, no one has noticed (yet!) Grilling vs oven roasting info here
– White pepper can be found in your grocer aisles; does not need to be freshly ground.
– Only taste twice, as too many tastings will skew taste testing barometer.