My last recipe, farmers’ market gazpacho, was all about keeping your oven off in the heat of summer. And here I am – coming up with a recipe that requires your oven to be on for at least an hour. Insanity in August, I know. But if you bear with me, you will have a smooth, creamy, and surprisingly light dip that goes well with fresh pita. With only a few remaining weeks of summer produce, I suggest you take advantage of the bounty of eggplant. Crank up the AC, pour a cold beer, and in only a little over an hour you will have a delicious eggplant dip!
Smoky Baba Ganoush
serves 6 as an appetizer
4 medium, dark skinned eggplants (about 3 1/2 pounds)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
juice from 1 lemon
3 tbs of tahini
1/3 cup of good quality olive oil, plus more for serving
1-2 small drops of liquid smoke (no more!)
salt to taste
Turn broiler on high. Poke holes in eggplant with a fork. Place eggplant on a heavy sheet pan and broil for approximately 1 hour. Turn the eggplant occasionally. You want the eggplants to blacken and become extremely tender. Test with a knife until the entire eggplant is soft.
Remove the cooked eggplants and let cool outside the oven until possible to handle. Slit open the skin and scoop out the flesh of each eggplant into a salad spinner. Gently spin the cooked eggplant to remove the excess liquid.
Transfer the eggplant to the bowl of a food processor. Add garlic, lemon, and tahini, and begin to process. As the food processor is running, stream in the olive oil and 1-2 small drops of liquid smoke.
Stop the food processor. Taste and adjust lemon juice if necessary. Stir in salt to taste.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh pita. The baba ganoush will last about a week and tastes best at room temperature.