My Mum came over for supper last night and I wanted to cook something light and fresh for us. She is a big aubergine fan so I opted for baba ganoush. This wonderfully smoky aubergine dip is so tasty that I even know those who claim to be anti-aubergine who merrily tuck in. The smokiness comes from charring the aubergine skin which also smokes the flesh; the addition of smoked paprika (one of my new favourite ingredients) gives it an extra smoky kick.
Mum had such a bad cold in the end that she couldn’t taste a thing but I really enjoyed it!
Some variations of baba ganoush include tahini but I have sprinkled toasted sesame seeds on top instead for a lovely nutty crunch – purists beware!
Serves 4 as a starter
– 2 aubergines
– 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
– juice 1/2 lemon
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 clove garlic, crushed
– 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
– pinch salt
– 2 sprigs flat leaf parsley, chopped
Make small slits all over the aubergine skin with a knife (exploding aubergine makes for a messy oven!). Place under a medium-hot grill for about 50 minutes, turning occasionally, or until the skin is completely charred all over. Leave to cool slightly.
Whilst the aubergines cool, toast the sesame seeds in a frying pan on a medium heat for a few minutes, tossing them occasionally. Tip: This step is absolutely worth it as it brings out the nutty flavour in the seeds. Remove from the heat when the seeds are glistening and starting to turn a light golden colour.
Put the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and smoked paprika in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
Cut the aubergines in half lengthways, scoop out the flesh with a spoon (discarding the skin) and add to the mixture along with a pinch of salt. Pulse to combine and check the seasoning. Tip: I like a slightly rustic texture but you can blitz to a smooth purée if you like!
A general word of warning: If you are tempted to add more smoked paprika than stated in the recipe, please do so a little at a time and keep tasting – it is potent stuff!
Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds and parsley on top and serve with hunks of warm crusty bread.
Source: Recipe and photos by pip & little blue.