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.
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, 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.)
Israelis feel strongly about mayo in their eggplant–it’s a love-it or hate-it sort of thing. For me, the marriage of creamy mayonnaise with the smoky eggplant is pure comfort-food, equally great as a dip or as a sandwich spread.
Try this preparation, or try basic Baba Ganoush, Eggplant Salad with Red Pepper and Scallions, or make all three and serve as a trio of dips or a crowd-pleasing first course at your next get-together.
2 medium eggplants (about 1 to 1 1⁄4 lbs each)
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced parsley
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.