Eggplant in any of its glorious forms is a winner for me, whether it’s sliced and thrown into a Thai curry, stuffed and grilled in a Turkish imam bayildi, slathered in miso Japanese-style, or blended with tahini and garlic in this wonderful Middle-eastern dip. Baba Ganoush is easy enough to rustle up, and while I have a basic recipe, I don’t tend to measure out the ingredients as the quantities really depend on the size of the eggplants, how juicy the lemons are, and how strong the garlic is – in the end it all comes down to taste and the subtle tweaking of flavours to find that perfect balance.
Start by nabbing yourself two lovely big eggplants and prick the skin a few times with the tip of a sharp knife. You can either pop them straight onto the barbeque or into a baking dish inside a pre-heated oven (I find the barbeque provides a pleasing level of smokiness that an oven can’t quite achieve), then leave to cook for 45 minutes or until the skin is dark and flaky and the insides feel soft and tender. Split the eggplants in half with a sharp knife and scoop the delicious gooey insides into a bowl, then add 2 or 3 cloves of crushed garlic, the juice from half a lemon, 3 or 4 tablespoons of tahini, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a generous pinch of sea salt and some cracked pepper, and a tablespoon of chopped fresh mint. Stir it all together, breaking down the larger pieces of eggplant flesh until it’s nice and smooth. I like to drizzle mine with extra virgin olive oil and a few fresh mint leaves, and serve with my favourite no-knead bread.