Smokey Baba Ganoush - Slow Sunday
Happy Slow Sunday again! Did you use a bbq or grill this summer yet? For me, summer is pretty much equivalent with smokey flavors and grilling. How about a day on the beach and a nice bbq in the evening, I'm in!
The impact of high heat and fire to food is like a magic formula that transforms food from pretty tasty to lip smacking delicious! If you have the chance to watch the documentary serie "Chef's table" on Netflix, don't miss the episode with gastro chef Francis Mallman who cooks food using primitive fire techniques, all in the name of amazing flavor! This post is coming from that same spirit and I'm making a baba ganoush roasting the aubergines directly on hot coals, for best possible flavor.
Baba ganoush is a roasted aubergine dish and a great creamy dip sauce for all kinds of occasions. Dip it with raw veggies or use as a side to savory mains. It's a perfect spread on bread or used in it's natural setting, next to middle eastern mezze dishes, like falafel or couscous. You can make your Baba by grilling aubergines in the oven, but if you have the chance, put the aubergines on hot coal to push the flavor further. You'll be happy that you did because the best Baba is smoked! If you can use real wood to your coals, even better!
A brilliant way of saving time and energy is to use the heat of your grill and bbq to the max, Whatever you're putting on your bbq, take the opportunity to lay aubergines or other vegetables on the coal. It's a smart way to prepare for dinners later in the week. Apart for having grilled aubergines for your Baba ganoush, you could make a smokey aubergine soup or just add the rich flavor of smoked aubergine flesh to sauces and dishes.
Since I started to make use of the all the available space on the grill, I had plenty of delicious grilled tomatoes, peppers, zucchinis, onions and lemons to use in my cooking, making my salads and breads a lot tastier. It saves a lot of money too :) compared to buying jars of tasty marinated foods at the local deli, you can easily make a luxurious collection of delicacies by grilling veggies, adding them to jars with olive oil, salt, garlic and herbs. It can keep for up to a month at least in the fridge.
Making your own jars of flavor setting marinades, sauces and dips is slow and whole food living exemplified. And it's so enjoyable, incredible tasty and money saving. This way of cooking is real minimal living with less waste. Buying less processed foods are a great way to contribute to a healthier eco system on our earth! So be efficient if you can and grill lots of extra veggies like aubergines when the bbq has been lit! It's a winning concept in all kinds of ways.
Back to the Baba! There are slight variations of this tasty dish depending on it's origins. Olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and pomegranate seeds are all common key players. I like the the addition of pomegranate and lemon juice flavor with the smokey aubergines extra much. With this recipe, I add Harissa paste as a topping to swirl in, because it looks great and is a fun addition to the taste, but not neccessary. I also use dried rose petals and Zaatar as a topping (optional). if you make a mean version of Baba, you're very welcome to share it in the comment fields. Here's my easy slow recipe for Baba ganoush.
Smokey baba banoush
serves 2-4 persons as a side
2 medium sized aubergines
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white tahini
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp mint and parsley, chopped fine
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil to drizzle
3 tbsp of pomegranate seeds
a tbsp harissa (optional)
Dried culinary rose petals (optional)
Sprinkle of Zaatar (optional)
With a fork make a few little openings on the skin of your aubergines, then add to hot coals and leave for 30 -40 minutes until the skin is burnt and matt and the aubergines looks shrunken. Remove from the coals and let cool. Cut the aubergines open and scoop out the flesh, leave to to drain excess fluid in a colander or a sieve for at least 40 minutes. Then mash your aubergine flesh with a fork in a bowl or mix smooth with a hand mixer. Even though this is a Slow Sunday post, I prefer using a mixer to make my baba extra smooth and creamy. Add olive oil, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, herbs and a pinch of salt. Mix well. Then taste to adjust with salt and pepper. Add more lemon juie if needed.
Top with a drizzle of olive oil, spoon in harissa if you like and make a cute swirl. Add pomegranate seeds, zaatar, and rose petals (optinonal). Enjoy!