I have a friend who swears that making babaganoush is super easy. Well, I have to agree with him somehow. It is pretty easy. All you have to do is roast the eggplant on your stove, smashed it and season it. It’s no rocket science, right? But what they won’t tell you is that toasting the eggplant on an open flame makes a huge mess. We will risk spending more time cleaning your stove than actually cooking the Levantine dish.
That’s why I suggested you make our eggplant caviar, the oven version of it. Easier and less messy. You can cover your baking dish with a foil paper and, in the end, just rinse it. It’s yummy and I strongly recommend it for the daily rush.
Now that I’ve been brutally honest with you and also gave you an alternative, I feel ready to admit that I LOVE the “real” smoky babaganoush and I would love to share my recipe with you.
I have a suggestion: when you realise your stove need some intense cleaning, go for the babaganoush on the open flame. When you know you’ll have to go deep and disassemble everything, if it’s more or less dirty it won’t make such a big difference. And then, you can think that you’ll have the babaganoush as a reward. It’ll make the stove cleaning all worth it.
Another suggestion I have for you is to make your babaganoush when you’re having a barbecue. You can “roast” the (whole) eggplant straight on the flames of your barbecue and you’ll have a nice starter or a super side dish for your meats. The spread is also great to upgrade a simple salad ar to be served with grilled veggies. They please the vegetarians and also the meat lovers. If you add some zucchini, pumpkin, bell peppers and onions to the grill you’ll have an awesome improved barbecue.
1 medium eggplant
1 crushed garlic clove
Salt, pepper and cumin (to taste)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 table spoon of olive oil
- Wash and dry the eggplant.
- Place the eggplant on your stove top and light the fire (you can do high)
- As long as it cooks you must rotate the eggplant, with the help of a clamp, so it’ll cook evenly. When we “bake” the eggplant on the open flame, the pulp gets smooth and with a soft smoky taste
* I also suggested you bake this eggplant on the barbecue grill. For you to have this smoky taste you must throw the eggplant straight on the fire, over the charcoal. Then, just as if you’d make it on the stove, spin the eggplant with the help of a clamp for it to cook evenly. For the rest, just keep following the step by step.
The original video lasts 18 minutes and 40 seconds, for you ta have an ideia of how long it takes for it to cook.
- Once the peel is evenly burned you can take it of the fire (or the barbecue). Wait for it to cool down a bit so you won’t burn your hands and start peeling. It’ll come out easily and it’s as fun as to peel the plastic out of a new cell phone.
- Place the eggplant pulp on a large bowl and add the crushed garlic, the salt, pepper, cumin and lemon juice. If you’re into tahine (the Levantine sesame sauce) you can also add 1 table spoon of it.
- Now you can either mix it all and smash the pulp into a purée with a fork or, if you want to have a smoother paste, you can blend it with a hand mixer or use a blender.
And there, you’re done!
Toss 1/2 table spoon of olive oil on top of it and serve. You can also sprinkle parsley, fresh mint leaves or even chilly flakes or dehydrated garlic to make it pretty (and also to add a new layer of flavour).
This smoky classic of the Levantine cuisine is a nice side dish for meats and/or chicken (wether it’s a barbecue or the daily meat). It’s also great paired with row veggies such as carrots and cucumbers or over a nice slice of bread (pita bread, of course).