Grill … Whoosh … Baba Ghanoush

Somehow, after last Tuesday’s sharebox, I wound up with three different kinds of eggplant.

Globe eggplant, baby eggplants, and the Tawainese heirloom, Ping Tung—all cluttering the crisper.

A few of the tender, wee ones found their way into a mixed sauté of zucchini, tomato, and onion. But come Monday, a day ahead of this week’s CSA delivery, the others, though still in great shape, were taking up valuable fridge real estate.

So at 9:00 a.m. yesterday, I fired up the grill.

The eggplants cooked while I enjoyed my coffee and dead-headed the flower bed; they cooled while I showered; and, as my hair air-dried, they got whooshed into baba ghanoush.

That’s likely the best multi-tasking I’ll do all week (unless I smugly empty the litter boxes while on hold, again, with Comcast).

A common dish in cuisines across the eastern Mediterranean, baba ghanoush roughly translates from the Arabic as “pampered daddy.” Ha.
Baba Ghanoush

I like the smokiness the eggplant flesh takes on when charred on the grill, but you could just as easily roast them in a superhot (500º) oven instead. Serve as a dip with pita chips and/or crudite—or spread on thick bread with a slab of ripe tomato, as I will for my lunch today.

  • 2 medium or a combination of smaller eggplants (mine weighed in collectively at 1.25 lbs)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
  • handful of pine nuts, toasted lightly in a dry pan
  • 2 heaping tbsp tahini
  • juice of a medium lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Bring your grill to medium-high heat (450-500°).

Pierce each eggplant in a few places with a sharp, narrow knife or a kabob skewer. Grill, turning every 5 minutes or so, until the eggplants begin to collapse in on themselves. The skins will crisp up and blacken. The little ones I used took 10-12 minutes; the globe was closer to 20. Set aside to cool.

Since I had the grill going, I charred a few red bell peppers, too. If you like, you can add those to the baba.

When you can safely handle them, split the eggplants and scoop out the flesh and seeds into the bowl of a food processor (if you don’t have one, you can mince it with a knife and then stir everything together by hand). Discard the charred skins.

Let’s be honest. Cooked eggplant flesh might be the definitive visual representation of meh.

Add the garlic, toasted nuts, tahini, lemon juice, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to the food processor. Process until you get the consistency you like (I like mine very smooth). Taste. Adjust seasoning. Serve at room temperature. Store any leftovers in the fridge and enjoy within 3-4 days.

A little (or big) dab’ll do ya.

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