A few weeks ago I took my first cooking class ever: pita and the best of the middle east. It was a lot of fun, especially since I have always been scared of baking bread. Ever since then I have been wanting to re-create some of the dishes we made in that class. Now it was a little too hot to make pita (which bakes at 500 degrees), and we just got some beautiful eggplants from the farm share so I decided to make some other favorites from the class: baba ghanoush and quinoa tabouli. I also decided to make lamb meatballs, a favorite in our house.
This post will focus on the baba ghanoush. Let it be known that I hate eggplant. Something about the texture has just never seemed appetizing to me. But Geoff and I joined a farm share this summer and don’t have control over what produce shows up at our door on Thursdays. I tried to make baba ghanough last time we got eggplant, but something was off about it, so I was excited to learn the tricks in a class setting.
The first trick I learned is to roast the eggplant over an open flame. In class we used a chile roaster, but I do not have one at home, so I used the grate from a toaster oven. The trick is to rotate the eggplant (using tongs) so that it is charred on all sides. They’re ready when they are soft all the way through and literally collapsing.
Once they’re done roasting put them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and/or a plate to steam them. This will help the skin come off easily. After about 15 minutes they will look like this:
Use a pairing knife to peel off the skin. Discard it along with the juice at the bottom of the bowl. Place in a food processor with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of tahini, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper.
The result is a delicious, smoky, creamy baba ghanoush. Don’t be afraid if when you first taste it it is a bit lemony. That just means you haven’t put enough salt in it. Here’s the final product: