In Israel, there’s a baba ghanouj (sometimes called baba ganoush) recipe for every taste. Even the smallest markets carry several versions of chatzilim (eggplant). Home cooks and restaurants alike relish the opportunity to tweak this classic, resulting in a multitude of interpretations for this Middle Eastern staple. Try this as a crowd-pleasing first course at your next get-together.
General Directions for Eggplant
Line stovetop with aluminum foil or burner covers. Turn a burner to high heat and place eggplant directly over burner grate, turning occasionally with tongs until all sides are charred and eggplant is soft, about 5 minutes per side or 15-20 minutes total. Remove to a baking sheet and let cool completely. Drain juices, remove skin and place eggplant pulp in the bowl of a food processor.
(I like my eggplant campfire-smoky — known as al ha’esh, or “on the fire” in Israel — but if the flavor is too strong for you, you can bake the eggplant on a baking sheet in a 400F oven for about an hour, then cool and skin the eggplant according to the directions below.)
1 teaspoon minced parsley
1 medium eggplants (about 1 to 1 1⁄4 lbs each)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/3 cup pure tahini (not a prepared tahini dip, which may contain preservatives and additives)
Prepare eggplant according to directions above and place in the bowl of a food processor.
Add garlic, lemon juice, salt, and tahini and process to desired consistency, pulsing 20-30 times for chunkier results or blending 15 seconds for smoother results. Season with additional lemon juice and salt to taste.
Transfer to bowl, garnish with parsley, and serve with wedges of pita bread.