This classic Lebanese eggplant dip (more here) is surprisingly easy to make. The key is to buy small, skinny eggplants. You’re roasting these over an open flame and the big, fat, genetically modified monsters you get at the supermarket are too thick to allow the heat to penetrate through the eggplant and cook all of the flesh. We got ours at Livengood Farms at the Reading Terminal Market– local, organic and totally delicious. Consider this our first entry in the Philadelphia Local Food Challenge!
3 eggplants, small and skinny
juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 clove chopped garlic (optional)
2 generous pinches of salt
1 small pinch pepper
I’m sorry, but this recipe only works on a gas stove (or a grill). Put the flame on medium or medium low (you want to do this slowly). Hold your eggplant with tongs and turn it very slowly over the flame. Do this until the skins are charred completely black and starting to split.
Once your eggplants are cooked, put them in a shallow dish and cover it with saran wrap. You want to seal this so that the heat left in the eggplants steams up the dish as it escapes and helps to steam the charred skins right off. You can leave this overnight if you want to.
When you bring out your eggplants, peel off the charred skins. It’s fine if a few bits get into the baba (it’ll have a nice smoky flavor) but you want to try to peel it as much as you can. If they’re really charred well, they should peel right off, but if you have any problem try peeling them under cold running water or submerged in cold water.
Mash the eggplant in a bowl with all ingredients. Serve with pita bread, matzoh or gluten-free crackers (if that’s how you roll). Healthy, smoky, tangy and snackable. Makes a great appetizer for Sukkot dinner!
If you keep this in the fridge, cover it with saran wrap and push the wrap all the way down onto the surface of the baba, to keep it from oxidizing.
Thanks to Joe and Leftyprof for these instructions!