From America's Test Kitchen Season 2: Middle Eastern Barbeque
Baba ghanoush often appears on the appetizer table as a gray, bitter, watery mass of eggplant puree. We were after a dip that had realized its potential—full of smoky eggplant flavor and brightened with garlic and lemon juice. And one certain way to produce this creation was to start off by grilling our eggplant.
For the best flavor, it’s imperative to start out with firm, shiny, and unblemished eggplants. To achieve a deep smoky flavor, we grilled the eggplants until they had completely collapsed—directly over a hot fire until wrinkled and soft. So the eggplant wouldn’t burst over the heat, we had to poke the entire surface with a fork. To avoid a watery texture and any bitterness, we drained the pulp of excess fluid, but didn’t bother spending time deseeding the eggplants. We processed the pulp with a modest amount of garlic, tahini paste, and lemon juice for the creaminess and bright flavor that traditional baba ghanoush is known for.
Makes 2 cups
When buying eggplant, select those with shiny, taut, and unbruised skins and an even shape (eggplant with a bulbous shape won’t cook evenly). We prefer to serve baba ghanoush only lightly chilled. If yours is cold, let it stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. Baba ghanoush does not keep well, so plan to make it the day you want to serve it. Pita bread, black olives, tomato wedges, and cucumber slices are nice accompaniments.