To achieve its quintessential smoky flavor for this creamy eggplant dip, you start by cooking a whole, uncut eggplant directly on the grates of a gas stove top, or on a grill, until it is charred all around, a technique that might seem slightly radical but it’s very easy—and fun— to do. (If you do it on your stove top, yes, it does make a bit of a mess, but it’s really not that hard to clean up and it’s so worth it!) Once the eggplant is charred until it is collapsed and soft inside, you cover it so it steams for a bit, then let it cool and scoop out the “meat.” Although you discard the skin, the smoky flavor from the charring permeates throughout, and as you scoop, some flecks of char make their way into the mix to delicious effect.
Babaghanouj (Smoky Eggplant Dip)
1 large eggplant (about 1 ¼ pound)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Olive oil for drizzling, optional
Place the eggplant directly onto the grates of the burner of a gas stove, or onto a pre-heated grill and cook on high, turning it several times with tongs, until the skin is charred and blistered all around and it has collapsed, about 15-20 minutes total.
Transfer the charred eggplant to a plate and cover to allow it to steam for 10 minutes. Then remove the cover and allow it to cool until it is easy to handle. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop the meat of the eggplant out of the skin. Discard the skin. (Use a knife to help separate them if needed. It is okay if some bits of charred skin remain.) Either chop the scooped eggplant with a knife, or place it into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it is broken down, but not completely smooth.
Place the minced garlic in a small mound on a cutting board and sprinkle it with the salt. Using the flat edge of a knife, work the garlic and salt together to form a paste.
Transfer the eggplant to a bowl. Stir in the garlic-salt paste, tahini, lemon juice, and parsley. Serve drizzled with olive oil, if desired
Makes 4 servings
Serving size: about 1/3 cup
Per serving: Calories 100; Total Fat 6 g; (Sat Fat 1 g); Protein 3 g; Carb 10 g; Fiber 4 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 250 mg, Total Sugar 4 g (including 0 g added sugar)