All words for the same wonderful, perfect, delicious smoky dip.
I like hummus. I really do. I think it’s nice. Hummus is like an ex-boyfriend who has a perfect driving record and is a big fan of Third Eye Blind. You really thought you liked him at the time; it was all healthy and chickpea-y, was easy to bring to work in a little tupperware container and went well with baby carrots. Baba ghanoush is like a mysterious stranger that seduces you from the mezze menu and takes you on exciting weekend excursions out of town on its motorcycle and recites little poems, which might be Baudelaire if you knew more about poetry, but could also be originals.
The point is, baba ghanoush is sexier than hummus, by 1000%. Hummus is Bill Compton, baba ghanoush is Eric Northman. If hummus is Jack Hodgins, baba ghanoush is Seely Booth. If hummus is the lead singer that everyone finds adorable, baba ghanoush is the brooding, quiet bass player. You get what I’m saying.
Baba ghanoush is exactly the same thing as hummus, but instead of chickpeas as the base, it has roasted or grilled eggplant. If you think you don’t like eggplant (because I, for one, do not like eggplant), don’t let that put you off baba ghanoush. A weird alchemy happens to eggplant when you roast or grill it. It stops being a purple, weird shaped thing that tastes and feels exactly like a dish sponge, and starts being a smoky, lightly sweet and totally unique substance that is crying out for you to enjoy with some pita bread. I don’t have a grill (yet), so I roasted mine in the oven, and for good measure kept a few pieces of the blackened skin when I processed it to make sure the smoke flavor was imparted to the dip. I watched 6 people (myself included) devour the whole bowl of baba ghanoush in about 4.5 minutes, so it must have worked.
2-4 smallish – medium eggplants (I like a smaller eggplant as I think they are less bitter than larger ones. I used 2 medium eggplants this time, and it made probably 3 cups of baba ghanoush. Next time, I will use 400 eggplants, because I never want to stop having baba ghanoush.)
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp tahini (Tahini is sesame paste, they should have it in a jar in the mediterranean section of your grocery store. If they don’t, you need to find a new grocery store. You may have this in your fridge already, if you ever make hummus at home.)
Juice of 2 lemons
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Turn your broiler on high. Cover a cookie sheet (rimmed) with foil, and prick your eggplants all over with a fork.
If you don’t, they will explode, which sounds awesome, but makes an absurd mess. Put the eggplants on the sheet under the broiler for about 30-40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes or so to make sure it’s blackening evenly. The eggplants will deflate slowly like a balloon, and start to look really sad and weird, as the juices run out. When the eggplants are soft all the way around, remove them from the oven and let them cool to room temperature.
Prepare a colander in the sink. Strip the skin off the eggplants (no need to be super picky about this, some skin is okay, I’d say if you remove 90% that’s fine) and put the flesh in the colander. Squeeze the flesh against the holes of the colander to remove all the liquid you can. A lot will seep out.
When most of the liquid is removed, put the flesh into a food processor with the other ingredients. Pulse until smooth and serve. Enjoy total adulation.