Thursday, July 1, 2010

0 Recipe #128: Bodacious Babaganoush

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Bodacious Babaganoush

2 c. roasted eggplant pulp & skins (about 1 medium-sized whole eggplant)
1 tsp. garlic, peeled & roughly chopped (about 1 small cloves)
1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. red chili pepper flakes (or ground cayenne pepper)
1/2 Tbsp. fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
1/2 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves (about 6-8 large leaves)
1/4 c. nonfat plain yoghurt
1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp. tahini

Directions: Roast eggplant on a metal baking tray covered with aluminium foil (or an aluminium pan) for 25-35 minutes at 400°F until skin has blistered evenly (but not charred!) on all sides. Let cool, then toss into a blender with the remaining ingredients, & pulse until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Serve with cured black olives (i.e., Kalamata or Greek olives) & toasted pita chips or lavash.

Chef's Notes: I like to use the whole eggplant, skins & all, because it gives the babaganoush a more intense roasted flavor and, as long as the skins aren't charred, it adds additional nutritional content to the dish.

In Middle Eastern countries, this dish is also traditionally served with a dressing of pomegranate syrup/molasses &/or olive oil. I've also seen this dessert served with nuts like pistachios, etc. I left these toppings out of the recipe, because it's an individual preference, but of course they can always be added if one so desires.

To make the pomegranate syrup, mix together 2 c. pomegranate juice, 2 Tbsp. honey, and 1/2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, and heat over medium-high heat until honey completely dissolves. Then turn-down heat to medium-low and reduce until the mixture has a syrup-like consistency, about 10 minutes. Mixture should be reduced to about a quarter of it's original amount, about a 1/2 c. (To make pomegranate molasses, let it further reduce to a 1/4 c., about 20 minutes.) Let cool, & if not using immediately, store in an airtight glass jar. It'll keep up to 6 months.

Yield: About 2 cups.

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