After spending years sampling food throughout the Middle East, I am suffering mild withdrawals back in the United States, so I've been experimenting with recreating those flavors in my own tiny kitchen. My organic, vegan baba ghanoush was a particularly big hit - even with my sister's family, which isn't so crazy about eggplant. And it is unbelievably easy to make. All you need are a few firm organic aubergines/eggplants (I used graffiti eggplants from Spain since that is what my market had available, but I recommend using local produce instead if you can), a toaster oven, an immersion blender, some Tahini, a few key middle eastern spices and you're well on your way to making a delicious, smokey dip that everyone will love.
6 small or 3 large organic eggplants
1 fresh-squeezed lemon
2 cloves of crushed organic garlic (or just one for those who aren’t evading vampires)
2 Tbsp organic tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 Tbsp organic olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp Mediterranean/Himalayan sea salt
1 tsp pepper
1 dash paprika
STEP ONE: ROAST THE EGGPLANTS
I used a toaster oven since that is all that I have, but I recommend our readers do the same because it’s a great way to save energy. Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and roast the eggplants until the skin is literally burnt. This should take roughly 30 minutes depending on your oven. It may seem strange to burn your food, but doing so is essential to the baba ghanoush’s smokey flavor.
STEP TWO: SCOOP OUT THE EGGPLANTS AND MIX
Once the eggplants cool down, go ahead and scoop out the “meat” into a large mixing bowl and toss the skins onto your compost heap. Add the cumin, garlic, lemon, pepper, salt and tahini, as well as half of the olive oil and use an immersion blender to mix them. You don’t want the consistency to be too mushy, so take care not to overuse the blender.
STEP FOUR: GARNISH AND SERVE
Once you’re satisfied that all of the ingredients are properly mixed, transfer to a serving dish and garnish with paprika and olive oil and serve warm or cold. Feel free to add a sprig of parsley for color. Served with triangles of wheat pita bread as a starter or side dish, the resulting baba ghanoush will liven up your meal with the unparalleled taste of the Levant and Mediterranean.