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Delicious, Any Way You Roast It

Middle Eastern spreads are plentiful, but very few have been able to jump the cultural divide into restaurants and homes in the States. In the Middle East, families, neighbors and even strangers gather around these homemade delicacies to talk for hours about absolutely anything.

Hummus is by far the most recognized Middle Eastern spread, but you don’t need to look far to find plenty of others that are just as tasty (or tastier!). Baba Ganoush is a traditional spread that uses charred eggplants to create a rich smoky pulp that is out-of-this-world delicious. For maximal fire-roasted goodness, roast the eggplants over an open flame. For those of us, however, who are only granted this luxury 2 weeks out of the year (if we’re lucky), we must turn to other alternatives. When it’s subzero outside I use my broiler or grill pan and find that both deliver a comprable fire-roasted flavor.

Baba ganoush literally translates into father who spoils (with an over-caring and positive connotation) in case you were wondering. This is a family recipe that was given to me by my grandmother who grew up in Aleppo, Syria (one of the greatest culinary centers of the Middle East). In this region of Syria pomegranates are abundant and bursting with flavor, so it isn’t surprising that a pomegranate version of this tasty spread evolved. Not only does the pomegranate add a more subtle citrus bite, but it also balances the bitterness of the seeds in the eggplant with its natural sweetness.

Baba Ganoush (بابا غنوج)

Baba Ganoush

Components

  • 2 medium sized eggplants
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. pomegranate juice
  • 1 tsp. pomegranate molasses
  • 1 garlic clove
  • fresh pomegranate, for garnish
  • salt, to taste

Putting them all together

  1. With the tip of a paring knife, poke the eggplant all around.
  2. Cook the eggplants over an open fire (preferably), under the broiler or on a grill pan for 5-7 minutes on each side or until completely charred and soft on the inside.
  3. Place eggplants in a bowl and cover in plastic wrap for about 5 minutes (or until they cool down enough to work with).
  4. Peel the skin off eggplant and place back in the bowl. Add olive oil, lemon juice, pomegranate juice and molasses and mash with a fork.
  5. On a cutting board, mince the garlic clove with the salt in order to create a garlic paste. Then, mix into the eggplant puree.
  6. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with fresh pomegranate and extra virgin olive oil and serve alongside pita bread.

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Posted in appetizers, Middle Eastern, recipe, savory by Antonio Tahhan on November 4th, 2007. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


6 Responses to “Delicious, Any Way You Roast It”

Summer Says:

all right,now i can tell that you add tahini to it! it was not mentioned in the morning show so i was kinda confused. have you checked my recipe video of baba ghannoush? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMTiqu87BvU&feature=related

Antonio Tahhan Says:

Hi Summer, I did add it in the morning show segment, but the camera didn’t focus in on it too much for some reason (if you check it out again it’s somewhere in the middle of the video 🙂

Silvia Says:

Antonio,

I want to come cook with you! I love your baba ganoush recipe.

Silvia in Chicago

Edie Says:

This looks dazzling with the pomegranate seeds on top! So, where can you buy pomegranate molasses?

Antonio Tahhan Says:

Thanks Edie! I buy my pomegranate molasses from Whole Foods. You can also find some online (Amazon) or at any Mediterranean/Middle Eastern market. I hope this helps!

Kays Says:

Thanks Tony, making Babaganough right now….you’re a life savior


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