Ottolenghi’s Deconstructed Baba Ghanouj

This is the final part of our amazing Middle Eastern feast that I would like to share with you. Even though baba ghanouj is typically an appetizer, we really could have eaten this dish as a complete meal! We gobbled it up with warm naan.  Our spread was complete with grilled chicken thighs, Tomato and Pomegranate Salad, Hummus, and Baked Rice. SO so SO good.

This recipe was adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi via The New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. I used 3 eggplants and charred them on a gas grill. I loved the use of fresh oregano as a garnish because my home-grown oregano has completely taken over my herb garden! 😉

  • 3 large eggplants, approximately 2-3 pounds
  • flaky sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 2 plum tomatoes, roughly grated
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • warm naan, for serving
  1. Char the eggplant. Prick surface of the eggplant in multiple places with a fork to release steam when cooking. To cook on a stove, place each eggplant directly over an open medium flame, and cook for 15 or 20 minutes, using tongs to turn the eggplant a number of times, until the skin is charred all over and the flesh is soft and smoky. To cook on a gas or charcoal grill, place the eggplants on the grill, and cook over medium-high heat, using tongs to turn the eggplant until the skin is charred all over and the flesh is completely soft and smoky.
  2. Remove the eggplants from the heat, and place on a rack to cool and drain, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel away the skin, leaving the stalks intact, and place them on a large plate.
  3. Using your fingers, coax each eggplant into a fan shape, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and drizzle with a tablespoon of tahini.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the grated tomato in a medium bowl with the garlic, oil, lemon juice and another pinch of salt. Spoon the mixture over the eggplants and tahini, leaving some of the eggplant visible, and then sprinkle with the oregano leaves and a final dusting of salt.
  5. Serve with warm naan.

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Baba Ganouj

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I make (and eat!) TONS of hummus. When having friends over for a Middle Eastern themed meal, I made this fabulous classic appetizer to serve alongside hummus. My husband and I could devour an entire bowl if we allowed ourselves! It reminded me that I need to make it more often- even though it takes much longer to prepare than hummus. This is my favorite recipe, adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. We served it with pita chips, flatbread, sugar snap peas and baby carrots for dipping.

For the “Base”:

  • olive oil or cooking spray
  • 1 medium (7-inch) eggplant
  • 3-4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sesame tahini
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper & cayenne, to taste

For the “Mix-In” Addition:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 cup finely minced onion
  • 10 oz mushrooms, minced
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 tsp fresh dill, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray or lightly oil.
  2. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise, and place face-down on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until very tender. Cool until comfortable enough to handle.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the “mix-in”. Heat 1 T olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion, mushrooms and salt and sauté 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Remove the mushroom mixture from the heat and stir in the fresh dill. Set aside.
  4. Scoop out the cooled eggplant pulp, and discard the skin. Place the pulp in a food processor, and add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt, and pepper. Puree until smooth.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the mushroom mixture. Cover tightly and chill.
  6. Before serving, the top can be drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with chopped parsley. Serve with crackers, pita, flatbread and/or crudités.

Hummus

Hummus

We usually have hummus around as a dinner alternative for my daughter.  When she objects to what is being served, she is always agreeable to have hummus with vegetables and flatbread.  We also serve it as an appetizer, and eat it on sandwiches with lettuce and shredded carrots. I always use the recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook – a gold standard. I make 2 modifications to this recipe- I add some of the bean liquid to make the hummus more creamy, and I warm the beans in their liquid in the microwave for 2 minutes before pureeing.  Melissa Clark, a New York Times food writer, suggested warming the beans to make the hummus more creamy- it really works.

  • 2 medium cloves of garlic
  • a handful of parsley or basil
  • 1 scallion, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas (warmed)
  • 3 T tahini
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cayenne, cumin, paprika, to taste
  1. Place garlic, parsley/basil, and scallion in a food processor or blender, and mince.
  2. Add chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, some of the bean liquid, and salt, and puree to a thick paste.
  3. Season to taste, if desired, with cayenne, paprika, and cumin (and correct the salt if necessary).  Transfer to a tightly lidded container and chill.

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