Back in January we created an incredibly stupid bracket to determine The Ultimate Super Bowl Dip. As incredibly stupid things are wont to be, it was also incredibly fun and incredibly hilarious and brought out the best and worst in just about everyone who participated.
For no group was this more true than for what I deemed The Baba Ganoush People. Maybe The Tzatziki People. Oh my God, who knew that traditional Mediterranean dips could inspire such rage?
This morning, while roasting the graffiti eggplant that was part of this week's CSA share, I thought of My Baba Ganoush People fondly and have decided to share my (exceedingly basic) recipe for the stuff. Let's do this thing.
Things You Need To Make This Stuff
1 medium eggplant, or the equivalent in teeny tiny eggplants or long, slender Japanese eggplants
2 tablespoons of tahini
1 giant lemon, or maybe two smaller ones
1 clove of garlic, unless you prefer to use more in which case be my guest
Some parsley if you'd like
A measuring spoon
A food processor or hand blender or potato masher or two forks
The first thing you need to do is to cook your eggplant. I do not trust the broiler function on my oven, so I roasted my eggplant for 40 or so minutes at 400 degrees. The broiler function, however, is really ideal because it helps to impart that lovely smokey flavor to the finished Baba; if you go this route, 5 to 10 minutes should do it for you. Because I have a tragic eggplant allergy, I also salted my eggplant for a half an hour before roasting. The basics of salting an eggplant are like this: Lop off the stem and stern of the eggplant and cut the thing in half lengthwise. Shake a liberal amount of salt over the fleshy part of the thing and just let it hang for a while. Then go back in and wipe the salt and moisture off with a paper towel. That's all!
Salting the eggplant helps to remove excess moisture and bitterness, and also to reduce the acidity which causes my particular allergy (N.B.: My eggplant allergy is pretty mild—the symptoms are an itchy tongue and throat. It won't harm me, it just causes discomfort and also is the biggest bummer because I freaking love eggplant.)
Once you've roasted that eggplant, let it cool off and then remove the skins. You can pretty much do that with your hands, they should peel right off. Since your hands are slimy anyway, go ahead and tear the cooked eggplant into strips. That will make it easier to smush it all into dip form.
Which brings us to the smushing part of the festivities! I use a mini Cuisinart for this jobbie, but you can use a full sized one, or a hand blender, or a potato masher, or two forks to mash/mix everything together. Since I use the mini Cuisinart, I work in two batches, which also allows me to make one batch smoother than the other, resulting in a creamy/chunky combo that I enjoy. But you should make your Baba the consistency that you enjoy, please don't feel beholden to my consistency. It also bears noting that using a potato masher or two forks will result in a chunkier Baba. But you probably already knew that.
Right then! Once you've scooped and broken up your eggplant, the rest is really just measuring and blending and tasting, so: Combine the eggplant flesh, tahini, the juice from that lemon, garlic and parsley (if using) and blend blend blend away. Don't add salt just yet—remember that you salted that eggplant, and you're not likely to know how much or little you actually wiped away so err on the side of caution for the time being and blend your dip up without the salt. Now taste it. Does it need salt? Probably. So add some! Does it need more lemon or tahini? It might. That's for you to judge, but remember that the flavors will come together and brighten as it sits so don't overdo it.
Now comes, as Tom Petty is always reminding us, the hardest part: The waiting. Your Baba is really going to be at its best if it's allowed to chill out, literally, in the fridge for an hour or so. Transfer it from the food processor into a bowl or storage container, cover tightly and busy yourself with something wonderfully distracting, like watching paint dry, to help pass the time during the excruciating wait.