It hard to come by a Middle Eastern mezze spread that does not include Baba Ganoush. This is a good thing because it truly is one of the best dips out there. The combination of grilled eggplant, tahini, garlic, and lemon create flavors that burst in your mouth and get you thinking “what the heck is in this dip?!”
The trick to making great Baba Ganoush is grilling the eggplant, providing its’ trademark smokey taste. It is also helpful to sieve the grilled eggplant through a mesh strainer to remove any additional liquid and concentrate the eggplant flavor.
For the number of times I have eaten Baba Ganoush, I have a newfound appreciation for it now that I make it myself. When I first started making Baba Ganoush I tried to roasting and broiling the eggplant in the oven rather than grilling it. While it still makes a tasty eggplant dip, it lacks that signature smokey flavor, and taste like a completely different dip.
I think back to all the times I had my Nana’s or Mom’s Baba Ganoush and am impressed that every time the dip was effortlessly spot on. Interestingly enough, I don’t recall ever seeing them grill the eggplant, and assumed they were able to create this flavor profile in the oven. WRONG. When I asked my mom recently she said, “of course we grilled the eggplant.” Well I guess the term “ignorance is bliss” does not apply here, and I am so happy to now be in the know!
- 3 medium sized eggplants
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 3/4 tsp salt, more or less to taste
- 3 medium lemons, juiced
- Coat each eggplant with olive oil to avoid sticking to grill.*
- Puncture the skin of each eggplant a few times. Each puncture should be roughly 1". This will prevent it from bursting when on the grill.
- Heat grill to medium-high heat.
- Place eggplants on grill. Rotate about every 10 minutes until equally charred on all sides. This should take about 30 minutes.
- Remove eggplant from grill and cover in foil for about 15 minuets to help concentrate the smokey flavor from the grill.
- Open from foil and cut eggplants in half lengthwise. Allow to cool enough so that you can handle it with you hands.
- Once cooled, scoop out flesh of eggplant with a spoon and place in a metal sieve. Make sure to remove any residual bits of skin from flesh. Press down on sieve to remove excess liquid and to further concentrate the eggplant flavor.
- Place eggplant into mixing bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher.
- Add tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt to eggplant and whisk with fork until smooth. Adjust salt to preferred taste.
- Place in fridge to fully cool.
- When ready to serve, decorate with olives, olive oil, parsley and/or paprika. Serve with pita bread, pita chips, crackers or vegetable crudités.