Eggplant lovers, you’ll be happy!
We all know Babaghanoush is a huge favorite, with Sephardi expats and beyond. (We Moroccans eat semi-industrial amounts of eggplant!) But somehow not all babaghanoush recipes are created equal. I suspect the reason is that the roasting on an open flame is a wonderful idea. It makes a huge mess on the stovetop, followed by the messy peeling. It can be a real deterrent.
But, I have found a clean and streamlined way to obtain that roasted and smoked flavor that is so prized in Babaghanoush. I peel it first, then roast it in a high temperature oven until it is dark and thoroughly dry. Dry is key, meaning, don’t just drain the extra moisture or you might lose the concentrated smoky flavor. But rather, roast the eggplant until no moisture remains, to seal in all the smoky flavor.
Do not skip the mayonnaise in the babaghanoush dip, a little goes a long way, and it lightens up the flavor, color and texture, and nicely offsets the other more ethnic flavors. My secret spice here is ground coriander, my mother used it abundantly in our Moroccan dishes, I just couldn’t be without it.
- 2 large eggplant (about 2 1/2 pounds total), peeled and halved lengthwise
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup tehina paste
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise, light OK
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- Good pinch cayenne
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil, spray generously with vegetable spray, place the eggplant halves on the foil, and spray again generously with vegetable spray. Roast for about 45 minutes, until the eggplant is dark and wilted and all moisture has evaporated. In a food processor, finely grind the garlic. Add the eggplant while still warm, and all remaining ingredients and grind coarsely, making sure the mixture remains lumpy, not allowing it to form a smooth paste. Serve with pita or good crackers, or use as a dip for crudites.