Roasted Eggplant Puree – Baba Ganoush

I am sure someone can tell me if I am spelling this wrong – I’ve seen several variations. This recipe is great for an easy snack, sandwich spread or dip.

3 medium eggplants (get boys if you can – they are longer and more slender than the girls, and have less seeds)
¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste – not the toasted kind used in Chinese cooking)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
Salt

Start by piercing the eggplants all over with a fork and rubbing with a little olive oil. Place on a cookie sheet under the broiler for 10 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until all sides are charred and flesh is soft.

When cool enough to handle, peel the eggplant and coarsely chop the flesh. Place in a colander and let drain for 20 minutes (otherwise, it will be too watery – and the liquid is often slightly bitter). Place drained eggplant in food processor with minced garlic, tahini, half of the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt. Pulse to combine and taste. I usually like a bit more lemon juice, but it’s up to you. You could also add some olive oil for a richer taste and more body. Other additions include garam masala or cumin for a different flavor, but I love the straight creamy goodness of the pureed eggplant.

We ate this, still warm, on whole wheat pita bread with some watermelon pickles on the side – so good. I also love it with pickled beets, but I forgot to buy beets at the grocery store. I plan to make some baingan bharta soon (which I am addicted to). From what I’ve read, it seems simple enough. You start with the same roasted eggplant, but then sauté it with tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, green chilis, and other spices depending on your taste. Some folks also add green peas. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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