I used to hate all things eggplant. Until I had my first taste of really great baba ganoush. It was made by a good friend of mine, an Israeli line cook who'd take time out of her afternoon to hover over the eggplants slowly charring over the open flames of the kitchen's burners, waiting until they were meltingly tender, before recruiting me to carefully peel them before she'd mix them up with lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and olive oil. The resulting dip was simultaneously smoky, savory, bright, and creamy...and I was addicted.
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Rich, smoky, and creamy, our recipe for baba ganoush uses the salad spinner to concentrate flavor and a slow emulsion method for the ultimate in dippable texture.
Not your average baba ghanoush—grilled slices of eggplant give this dip a chunky texture, and a hefty portion of hot paprika adds spicy character.
Baba ghanoush is a late summer dream, a brilliant balance of flavor and texture. It's light but creamy, kissed by smoke, lemon, and garlic. Tahini gives it body and olive oil lends a fruity finish. And once you get the technique down—which is really just roasting an eggplant to death—you can vary it however you like. This is my version, but different tastes prefer different balances. Taste frequently and make this your own. I've suggested some add-ins to heighten specific dimensions of baba ghanoush's complex flavor profile.
For each thrilling high of a fantastic experience with this smokey Middle Eastern dip, I experience a equal low, often leaving me questioning why I like it at all. Unfortunately, my home experience has been made up of almost entirely lows—until this most recent stab at it. Each ingredient combined to make a luscious, smoky dip that reigns high on my list of all time favorites.