Before I loved the garlicky, lemony taste of baba ganoush, I loved the sound of baba ganoush, pronounced [bah-bah gah-NOOSH]. Say it three times, you might love the sound too -- but it only takes one taste of baba ganoush to love how it tastes!
ALTERNATE SPELLINGS Baba ghanoush; baba bannoujh; baba-ganouj; babaganoush
This version uses grilled eggplant which adds a smoky flavor and adds parsley which brightens the color. It's a winner! The inspiring recipe from Alton Brown suggested adding sugar or honey if the baba ganoush were slightly bitter. There was no bitterness here but I so loved the idea of honey that after taking the photo, I swirled some in (not mixing it in, leaving it distinct) and -- oh swoon -- very good!
TAHINI Baba ganoush also calls for tahini, a thick paste of ground sesame seeds. It comes in a big jar and is expensive so you'll want to be able to use it in something other than baba ganoush. The other classic recipes that calls for tahini is hummus (here's the Kitchen Parade recipe for a simple hummus) but for something truly spectacular, I suggest Armenian Tahini Bread.
Time to table: 60 minutes
Makes 1 1/4 cups
1 pound globe eggplant
2 cloves garlic - next time I'll start with 1 clove
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons - I used 2 lemons, less than the equivalent of 2 1/2 lemons that Alton Brown called for; next time I'll start with the juice of one lemon, than add more depending on taste
2 tablespoons tahini - stir it well first
1/4 bunch of parsley - a small fistful, Alton Brown called for 1/2 a bunch
Salt & pepper to taste
GRILL THE EGGPLANT
Wash the eggplant but leave it whole. Prick the skin with knife tip in a few places so it won't explode. Grill for about 30 minutes, turning every 7 or 8 minutes. The skin should be blackened. When it's done, the eggplant will start to deflate. Slice off the stem end, let cool until you can handle it. Slice into the eggplant (it'll be a little messy) and scrape the flesh off the skin (a grapefruit spoon worked great). Discard the skins and any big chunks of seeds, let the flesh drain in a colander for 10-15 minutes.
In a food processor, mix the eggplant flesh with all the remaining ingredients and process til smooth. Taste and adjust to taste. Serve with pita bread or as a spread for sandwiches.
NITPICKING ALTON BROWN - I just now noticed that all of Alton Brown's ingredients seemed double what seemed "right" to my taste. Perhaps this is because he used a two-pound eggplant, even though the recipe didn't say? AB, you're a rock star but some times, details do matter!
Other varieties of eggplant would work just fine, but have a higher proportion of skin:flesh so you'll need to start off with more eggplant. Here's what varieties of eggplant look like.
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