Baba Cuteness!


I don’t think there is anything more delicious than grilled eggplants.  Baba Ganoush is literally translated into “daddy cuteness.”  I have absolutely no idea why someone would name a dish that! Regardless of the reason, it is one of my favorite appetizers in Levantine cuisine.  There are a lot of variations to this appetizer; the salad is one of them.  A lot of the Balkan countries chop onions and peppers and add it to the roasted eggplants.  All the different versions however have 4 ingredients in common; the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Whatever you do, do not use the roasted eggplants out of a can.  No matter how much lemon juice and olive oil you add it will not change a thing.  Get your eggplants fresh and grill them! Back home we used to poke a few holes in the eggplants and roast them over a gas stove.  When outdoors, the best way would be to roast them over an open fire.
   
Did you know that one third of eggplants around the world are grown in New Jersey? I have always wanted to grow my own eggplants and I think I will attempt this next spring.  One thing I noticed about the eggplants being grown here is that they hold a lot of water.  On the grill they reduce in size a lot because all the water evaporates.  This is not a problem however; you’ll just have to grill more eggplants! 

The dish below is Baba Ghanoush with a few veggies added.  You can’t really call it a salad, as it is more of a puree/dip that you still eat with pita bread.  To make a salad the roasted eggplants would have to be roughly chopped and not smashed.  It is a versatile appetizer and you can add whatever you like! 

Ingredients:

4 eggplants
1 lemon
2 roasted red peppers
1/2 bunch parsley
1 small onion
1 clove minced garlic
4 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 tbs Tahini   

Grill or roast your eggplants and red bell peppers.  Let them cool off and then chop the red bell peppers.  Don’t chop the eggplant but puree it with a fork.  Chop the parsley and onion very finely.  Squeeze the lemon and add the juice to the puree.  Mix all the ingredients above.  How easy was that!? 

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