One of the things I love about living on a farm is being able to walk out into the garden, take a few ingredients, and turn them into fresh fast food. Today I’m making Baba Ganoush – a garlicky middle eastern eggplant dip, from today’s harvest.
There is an eggplant bush hidden at the back of my compost area. It must have sprung up from some withered seedlings that I didn’t think would make it, so I’d donated them back to the compost where this one happily took root and grew. I plucked three fat fruit from it on my morning walk.
The bush lemon down by the dam is also covered in fruit, so I picked a few of those too. I love the sweetness of these lumpy looking lemons, and it’s like harvesting golden treasure as I duck the big thorns on its branches.
There’s the garlic I harvested a few weeks ago still hanging up to dry near the laundry, and plenty of parsley growing by the bathroom door. With a little effort I can make some baba ganoush to enjoy this week. It’s so easy – maybe you’d like to try it too. This is a totally adjustable recipe , depending on how much you want to make, and how strong you like your flavours.
Baba Ganoush Recipe
Ingredients: Two big fat eggplants, or several smaller ones. Lemon ( I used the juice of one). Garlic (I used four cloves, but you may find that excessive). Parsley (about half a cup). Cumin (teaspoon). Tahini (3 tablespoons). Salt and Pepper.
Drop the whole eggplant onto a grill or over a gas flame until the skin chars. You could also cut them in half and place under a hot grill for the same effect. This imparts a lovely smoky flavour. Then cut eggplant in half, if you haven’t yet, place cut side down on some baking paper on a flat tray, and pop into a moderate (180 degree) oven for about 30 minutes until the fruit is baked and soft. Let it cool a little.
(You can mash all of this by hand for a chunky texture, but I’m in a hurry so I’m going to whizz it up in my food processor.)
Scoop flesh into processor, and add some parsley and a clove of garlic. If you don’t like a lot of garlic go gently here. I’m mad on it so I bunged in 3 big cloves. Pulse until roughly combined. Add some lemon juice (start with half a lemon and adjust to taste) and a few big tablespoons of tahini. Sprinkle in a dash of salt and pepper, and a small quantity of cumin. Whizz to combine, and then taste. Add extra of anything you think it might need.
My bush lemon was quite sweet so I adjusted this with a dash of white balsalmic vinegar.
Serve this with a drizzle of olive oil over it if you’re being traditional. It’s terrific with pita bread or sourdough, crackers or crudites. Enjoy!
PS. 29 Jan 2012 – have just made a modified version of this, substituting macadamia paste for the tahini, coriander (cilantro) for the parsley, and adding a sprinkle of chilli flakes. Result: scrummo!