Okay- that was disaster. Following the advice of a respected (past-tense now) food blogger, I put an eggplant directly on the burner of my gas stove to achieve the desired "smokey" eggplant flavor for a batch of Baba Ganoush. What I now know is that without cuts in the flesh to release the steam (which the blogger neglected to mention), a piping hot eggplant will explode all over your stovetop. If it tasted smokey, I will never know. That gelatinous goo took twenty minutes to clean off of the stove top. I needed a new strategy for the ultimate Baba Ganoush.
Best eggplant cooking method
After a bit of experimentation I've determined that outdoor grills are the best method for roasting eggplants in the summer, but oven roasting is better when the snow is flying.
Tips for selecting & storing eggplant
- Choose young eggplants that feel heavy and have smooth, tight skin (if the skin is dull and bruised, it's too old)
- It is best to use the eggplant soon after you bring them home - they can become bitter-tasting with age.
- They can be stored for a few days at room temperature or in the upper part of your refrigerator where it is warmer
- The commonly found globe eggplant always works in this recipe, so I have never tried other eggplant varieties. Let me know if you have success with other types of eggplant in this recipe.
There are as many ways to spell baba ganoush as there are variations of this simple Mediterranean dish. It can be used as a dip or a spread - like its sister, hummus.
- 2 large eggplants
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice about ½ lemon
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup tahini
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of cayenne
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
Grill Method – poke the eggplant several times with a fork, place it directly on the grill over low heat. Use tongs to turn frequently until the eggplant turns black and collapses - about 25-35 minutes. Yes, cooking over an open flame is the messy way to cook an eggplant so an outdoor grill is better than using your gas stovetop.
Oven Method – cut eggplants in half lengthwise and place the cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick the skin several times on each eggplant half. Bake at 475°F for 30-45 minutes until the eggplant softens and collapses.
While the eggplants are still warm, use the stem of the halved eggplant as a handle and scoop out the silky flesh from the center. You may need to use a sharp knife to score the flesh to make it easier to remove. Dispose of any large seed beds, but some seeds are fine.
Combine dip ingredients in a deep bowl. Use an immersion blender or a fork to blend the dip and make it creamy but with some texture.
Serve with vegetables or pita bread.