- June 27, 2023
- 0 / 5
A wonderful appetizer for a Fourth of July crowd is Babaghanoush, a Middle Eastern dip made with smoky charred eggplants, tahini, garlic and lemon juice.
Because it can be made ahead, it is a wonderful addition to any barbecue, picnic or celebration.
Serving it along side pita chips or toasted bread, this is one of the best versions I’ve tried!
The eggplants can be grilled or roasted in the oven. I prefer to grill them but if you don’t have the time to oversee them (they take a good 30-45 minutes on the grill, turning every so often), the oven is the next best choice. Having said that, grab a book, sit outside and grill them as this provides the smokiest flavor that elevates this babaghanoush more so than any other that I’ve tried!
Once the eggplants are grilled, carefully (they are hot!) remove the pulp from the skins. Purée the pulp, squeeze a little of the water out and let the pulp drain in a strainer over a bowl for an hour. This will get rid of any bitterness that can unpleasantly flavor the dip.
As for the purée, I like my babaghanoush a little chunky, so I don’t purée it smooth. but, if you like it smoother, go ahead and purée all of the chunks out.
In a small bowl, mix the tahini and lemon juice. With a mortar and pestle (or a small bowl and a wooden spoon), pound the garlic and salt together until a paste forms and then add that to the lemon-tahini mixture. Stir this into the eggplant purée.
If you’d like the dip a little thinner, add some extra water (not lemon juice) until you reach the consistency you like.
Serve the babaghanoush with a drizzle of olive oil, some parsley, black olive and pomegranate seeds. Or keep it simple, and top it with some thyme leaves, veggies on the side and crackers or pita!
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Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
- 4 medium-size eggplants (about 4 pounds)
- 9 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste), stirred if oil has separated out
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 & 3/4 tsp salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Imported black olives
- Pomegranate seeds (optional)
Puncture or score the eggplants all over with a fork or knife. Preheat a gas grill on medium-high for 20 minutes or prepare a charcoal grill and grill the eggplant whole until the skins are black and blistered, about 40 minutes. Or preheat the oven to 425°F and roast in pan for 40 to 45 minutes. (Some Arab cooks blister the eggplants over a gas burner flame, but I have always found that way messy, although it may be quicker.) Carefully remove the skins and spoon out the soft pulp just as soon as you can handle the eggplant. Puree the pulp in a food processor, then squeeze or drain out some of the bitter liquid from the eggplant by letting it sit in a strainer over a bowl or the sink for an hour.
In a small bowl, slowly mix the lemon juice and tahini. Pound the garlic and salt together in a mortar until it is a paste, then stir into the tahini mixture. Stir this into the eggplant purée. Taste and add water to thin–NEVER thin with more lemon juice.
Pour the mixture onto a serving platter and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, the parsley, some black olives, and pomegranate seeds, if using.