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Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush

I had recently moved to Kansas City and took a part time job as a chef on a CSA farm about an hour from where I live.  The opportunity was very exciting for me as I would have a lot of freedom to create interesting food for  a membership community of 50 families.

I showed up for work the first day feeling confident and ready.  My tools were sharp and my apron clean.  I was thrilled to start something new like this and to jump right in.

I work Monday-Wednesday and during the weekend before I head in, I get a list of ingredients that need to be used up that week.  These items are usually either in abundance or need to be used as they have a short shelf life.  You see, this farm I work for doesn’t use any chemicals or pesticides.  The foods are natural and for the most part are not meant to sit around for weeks at a time uneaten.

One of the ingredients I was told to use up was eggplant.  Just over 50 pounds of it.

I will be perfectly honest.  Eggplant is not my favorite vegetable.  For some reason, I just don’t like the texture when cooked using traditional techniques.

I am well aware of the health benefits of eggplant.  It’s high in fiber and nutrients.  It’s good for bone health, digestion and heart health but the truth is, I rarely use it in my diet.

As it was my first week on the job, I really wanted to make a great first impression and while I was also give a long list of other vegetables to use up, I was locked in on what to do with the eggplant as I had little experience working with it since I mostly had avoided it in my personal diet.

After consideration, I decided to push myself to make the best Baba Ganoush that I, or anyone else for that matter, had ever eaten.

Baba Ganoush is a Lebanese dish. I find the origin of the name to be pretty funny as “baba” = daddy, and “ganoush” = to spoil.  In essence, the dish is meant to spoil daddy and if made correctly, this dish will definitely hit that mark!

Baba Ganoush essentially is a roasted, mashed eggplant salad.  This dip relies on one of my favorite ingredients, tahini.  Tahini is made from toasted hulled sesame seeds and contains more protein than milk and most nuts.  It can be used in dressings, sauces and marinades.

When I wrote this recipe originally, I had figured I may have about 20 pounds of eggplant.  When I actually made this recipe, I had over 50 pounds. You probably don’t have that much eggplant to use up so you can divide the quantities by whatever quantity you do have.

I will say that you’ll want to make more than a few servings.  This dip is so delicious, versatile and can be frozen, so if your garden is overflowing with eggplant, or they’re on sale, don’t skimp out.  Make 2 or 3 times what you think you’d actually want.

Here’s the recipe based on the volume I used.

Ingredients:

  • 48 pounds eggplant
  • 40 cloves garlic – minced
  • 3 cups lemon juice
  • 4 cups tahini
  • 7 cups EVO
  • 5 cups chopped parsley
  • 2 TBSP cumin
  • salt
  • smoked paprika

Directions:

Oven at 400. Cut the eggplant in half and oil the flat side then season with salt. Roast them flat side down until they are very tender and the skin starts to deflate. Remove and let cool.
Scoop out the flesh into a large perforated pan or strainer and work with a large fork to remove as much water as possible and to mash. Add the garlic, lemon juice and tahini. Mix well. Slowly work in the EVO then add the parsley, cumin and salt. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if needed. I finished these with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

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