Saturday, July 18, 2009

Baba Ghannouj

One of my favorite vendors at the farmer's market had three varieties of eggplants today. I picked up a few of the Japanese kind (lighter, brighter purple) instead of the usual dark purple or skinny ones. I was thinking about roasting them or making a ratatouille for dinner. But I overheard the farmer tell someone that she uses the skinny, darker eggplants to make spreads and dips. She roasts the eggplant, then purees the insides with cream cheese. I immediately put down the Japanese, and picked up two of the skinny eggplants.

I came home, wrapped the eggplant in foil, drizzled with olive oil and tossed into the oven. I did the same with a purple head of garlic (I had a sample at the market and grabbed a few bulbs). After about thirty minutes, I removed the eggplant and garlic from the oven. I let them cool, before cutting the eggplant, peeling the skin and scooping out the insides. I put the insides in a dish, mixed in a few cloves of roasted garlic, basil, a little tahini, and salt.  I pureed the mixture with a hand immersion blender. It was ready in seconds. I tasted a little on a spoon, then a little more, and a little more. The basil made the dip a light green, and the tahini made it creamy (a nice alternative to cheese). It tasted delicious. You could use this as a spread for wraps or sandwiches or a dip for vegetables. My only regret is that I didn't buy enough eggplant! 

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