Baba ghanoush, Baba ganoush, Baba ghanouj [bah-bah gah-noosh]
Baba ghanoush (Arabic: بابا غنوج bābā ghannūj, also appears as BABA GANOUSH or BABA GHANOUJ) is a Levantine dish of cooked eggplant mixed with tahina (made from sesame seeds), olive oil and various seasonings. The Arabic bābā means “father”, while ghannūj could be a personal name. The word combination is also interpreted as “father of coquetry” or “indulged/pampered daddy.”
The traditional preparation method is for the eggplant to be baked or broiled over an open flame before peeling, so that the pulp is soft and has a smoky taste. It is a typical meze (starter), often eaten as a dip with KHUBZ or PITA bread, and is sometimes added to other dishes.
A variety of this dish is commonly known as patlıcan salatası (“eggplant salad”) in Turkey. It is typically made with mashed eggplants, although varieties with cut eggplants can be found in southern Turkey. In regions with Arab-speaking populations it is also known as abugannuş or abugannuc.
In Israel, it is also known as salat ḥatzilim although a variation with that name made with mayonnaise instead of tahina is also widely available.
- 3 medium Italian eggplants (about 2 pounds total)
- 3 medium cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon, plus more as desired
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Kosher salt
- If using a gas burner or grill (recommended): Preheat a gas or coal grill to medium heat and place eggplants directly over heat source. Cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until completely tender and well charred on all sides, 30 to 40 minutes. Wrap with foil and let rest 15 minutes. Continue to step 3.
- If using the broiler: Adjust rack to 6 inches below broiler element and preheat broiler to high. Place eggplant on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides and completely tender, about 1 hour. Eggplants should be very, very tender when cooked. Test near the stem and bottom ends. If a toothpick or skewer meets any resistance, continue cooking. (See note above.) Remove from oven and gather up foil, crimping it around the eggplants to form a sealed package. Let the eggplants rest for 15 minutes. Continue to step 3.
- Open foil package. Working one eggplant at a time, use a sharp paring knife to slit it open lengthwise. Carefully scoop out soft flesh with a large spoon and transfer to a strainer set in a large bowl. Once all eggplant is scooped, pick out any stray bits of skin and blackened flesh and discard.
- Transfer eggplant to a salad spinner, distributing it evenly around the perimeter. Spin gently until all excess moisture is extracted. Discard all drippings, wipe out bowl. and return eggplant to bowl.
- Add garlic and lemon juice to eggplant and stir vigorously with a fork until eggplant breaks down into a rough paste, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stirring constantly and vigorously, add the tahini followed by the olive oil in a thin, steady stream. The mixture should become pale and creamy. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and more lemon juice if desired.
- Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with warm pita bread or vegetables for dipping. Baba ganoush can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Let baba ganoush warm to room temperature before serving.