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Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush
This creamy mixture is made with smoky, fire-roasted eggplant, tahini (sesame-seed paste), lemon juice and plenty of minced garlic. Serve with warmed pita wedges or crackers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1/4 cup tahini, plus more as needed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
  • Large pinch of ground cumin
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup brine-cured black olives, such as Kalamata

Directions:

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill. Preheat an oven to 375°F.

Prick the eggplant with a fork in several places and place on the grill rack 4 to 5 inches from the fire. Grill, turning frequently, until the skin blackens and blisters and the flesh just begins to feel soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet and bake until very soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and peel off and discard the skin. Place the eggplant flesh in a bowl.

Using a fork, mash the eggplant to a paste. Add the 1/4 cup tahini, the garlic, the 1/4 cup lemon juice and the cumin and mix well. Season with salt, then taste and add more tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed.

Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and spread with the back of a spoon to form a shallow well. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the parsley. Place the olives around the sides. Serve at room temperature.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Small Plates, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1998).