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In the Glebe district of Ottawa, some friends took me to a restaurant that served tantalizingly smoky baba ghanouj, and I tried hard to recreate it. I discovered at last that the secret to smoky baba ghanouj is in the eggplant skins :-) This one's special.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Take 4 eggplants of medium size.
- Chop off the hard top 1" of each eggplant, and then cut each eggplant in half.
- For each half, score the inside flesh- i. e. cut deep incisions 1/2" apart, lengthwise and widthwise
- cut deep incisions 1/2" apart, lengthwise and widthwise.
- Then turn the half over, and make several deep punctures in the skin of the eggplant.
- When finished, place the halves with the inner flesh facing upwards on a baking sheet (or two), and bake for 1 hour.
- I suggest keeping a window open during this time.
- After the eggplants have baked for an hour, take them out of the oven, and cut each half into six to eight large chunks.
- Then put all the chunks into a blender, and blend to as smooth a consistency as possible.
- Next add the following ingredients: 6 tablespoons of tahini (sesame paste), 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/4 cup of fresh finely chopped cilantro, 2 tbs dark sesame oil.
- Blend again,'til you have a paste-like consistency.
- At this point, start tasting the baba ghanouj.
- The tahini gives a smooth texture and creamy taste.
- The lemon juice naturally makes the mixture tarter and wetter; so they balance each other out.
- If one seems to be dominating the mixture excessively, add a bit more of the other.
- The sesame oil adds moisture; you may want more or less of this.
- Here are some other ingredients I added and blent in, to achieve balance: 1 tomato (adds moisture and richness, without the calories of the oil; also makes it less smoky); 1-2 tbs soy sauce (adds saltiness) (go slowly with this; it's a strong flavor).
- So, taste it as you go and see what it needs.
- If you follow the amounts I've outlined here, you'll end up with something that tastes good.
- Next (or simultaneously while mixing): Cut the 4 red bell peppers in half, and place skin-side up under broiler for 10-15 min, until skin is half red, half black.
- Remove from oven.
- When cool enough to handle, place the red bell pepper halves skin-side-down on serving plates, and spoon a few tablespoons of baba ghanouj atop each.
- Garnish each with a sprig of cilantro atop the baba ghanouj, for prettiness.
- There will likely be baba ghanouj left over, so get some pita bread to make sandwiches.
- Or, make sandwiches in the first place, by slicing the red bell peppers up and putting those with the baba ghanouj inside of pita.
Pretty good. I halved the recipe, omitted the tomato and soy sauce, and used e.v. olive oil, garlic and kosher salt instead. I had soaked 2 cloves crushed garlic in 6 tbsp olive oil, rubbed the oil over the scored eggplant before roasting, and used the excess garlic oil mix in the blender. I also turned the eggplant in the oven after 45 min. Thanks to MEAN CHEF's review, these changes punched it up a notch. Next time I'll add some kind of chili powder...
Made this today. Roasted eggplants for 1 hour 15 minutes, did not use tomato, but otherwise followed recipe exactly. The end result was just ok. It was not bursting with flavor, need salt and was generally pretty bland. It may help to grill the eggplant, but it need someting to punch up the flavor. It tastes fine, just bland. This recipe makes a ton