This is such a beautifully easy recipe – and is nicely adapted for those who (like me) don’t have a gas hob or endless supplies of lighter fluid for blowtorching aubergines for hours at a time. I love this recipe so much that I don’t think I could buy shop baba ganoush again – the fresher the better, and it takes an hour from start to finish, most of which is just ignoring it as it does its thing under the grill.
This was made on request from a friend who discovered baba ganoush for the first time when we went out for dinner – I made it as part of a Middle Eastern mezze sharing spread supper, and it went down a storm. I’m completely obsessed with Middle Eastern recipes, especially during the summer; the flavours are so punchy and harmonious, and everything just feels good, tasty but healthy. I got the recipe from one of my favourite cookery books – Honey & Co: Food from the Middle East, the inaugural book from the London restaurant of the same name. I love everything about this book and I’m slowly working my way through it, but this has been a stand-out recipe that I keep coming back to.
What you’re looking for is the smokiness – its’ not enough that the aubergine is soft and cooked, it needs to be properly burnt to infuse it with that quintessential savoury smoke flavour. Gorgeous.
Simple Baba Ganoush recipe
2 medium aubergines
50g runny tahini paste
A squeeze of lemon
A pinch of flaked sea salt
A flat, foiled lined tray – this is important, because burnt-on aubergine is a bloody nightmare to scrub off
- Preheat your grill as high as it’ll go
- Rinse the aubergines (always rinse your vegetables), and slice them in half lengthways. Place them on to the foil-lined tray, and put the tray under the grill
- Keep checking the aubergines over the next 30 minutes, but don’t touch them. You want the skins to go completely black and solid. Don’t remove the aubergines from under the grill until they’ve started to leak around the sides – you will start to smell that characteristic smoky smell after about 40 minutes in total.
- Remove the tray from the oven and leave the aubergines to cool until you can comfortably pick them up
- Scoop out the (now soft) flesh into a bowl, and discard the blackened skins
- Mix in the tahini, then add the lemon juice and salt to taste.
Serve with pittas, salad, falafel, whatever you like. Baba Ganoush itself isn’t much to look at – it’s grey, basically. However, I loved photographing the aubergines in their various states, as you can probably tell! Aubergines are such a beautiful vegetable anyway, but I had a lot of fun styling them for this post. I hope you enjoy!
This recipe was adapted from Honey & Co. – Food from the Middle East.