Sunday, February 22, 2009

Roasted Garlic Baba Ghanouj

The Recipe:

1 med-large eggplant (1 1/4-1 1/2 lb)
1 head garlic
olive oil
1/3 cup tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika (or regular if it's what you got)

Preheat oven to 350. Drizzle a little olive oil over the garlic- do not separate the cloves or remove the paper, we want this baby whole- and wrap in foil. Pierce the eggplant several times with a sharp knife. Roast both in a shallow dish- the garlic for 45 min.; the eggplant for about 1 hour or until tender through.

Let the garlic cool and remove the soft roasty cloves from the paper and drop in the food processor. Let the eggplant cool in the shallow dish (I use a pie plate). Some juice will accumulate- this isn't your friend, pour it off. Peel the eggplant, using a sharp knife to pull the skin away from the soft insides. Add the pulp to the food processor along with all the other ingredients. Puree until a lovely texture. Chill in the fridge at least 1 hour or probably overnight. Great with pita bread or pita chips for dipping.

The Story

Tahini is a sesame seed paste used in hummus. My grocery store stocks it with the peanut butter. Make sure to stir it very, very well before measuring- it settles. Store the extra in the fridge until the next time you make hummus.

If you don't wrap the garlic in foil, the outside cloves will brown which imparts a great flavor. However, they cross from golden brown to burned crispy in a short window of time- watch out. Also, in summer you can roast both the garlic and the eggplant on the grill outside; just keep an eye on the temperature to keep them from burning on the outside while still raw inside.

I usually see Baba Ghanouj made with raw garlic, fewer cloves. If you like the raw garlic bite, use 1 or 2 cloves only. The garlic flavor will increase the longer the dip rests in the fridge.

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