Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fire-Roasted Baba Ghanoush with Flatbread Toasts

Baba ghanoush is a Middle Eastern dish similar to hummus, except the baba ghanoush calls for eggplant instead of chickpeas, as in hummus. Garlic, olive oil, tahini, and fresh lemon juice figure heavily into both dishes, and toasted pita or naan bread is a tasty accompaniment for either. 

Baba ghanoush originated in the Levant region of the Middle East—largely today, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, and Syria. As with any dish from a particular geographical area of the world, many varieties of it crop up across the globe as time goes by.

Some baba ghanoush recipes call for chopped herbs, a mixture of spices, or onions and peppers, but the simplest, most authentic recipe is usually best: eggplant, sesame, lemon, garlic, and oil. Not only simple, but loaded with flavor.

Note: I roasted the eggplant over hot coals to bring out a smoky, rich flavor in the fleshy pulp. You also can roast the eggplant in the oven at 400° F. if you don’t have a charcoal grill.

Also note: I used pure sesame paste in place of tahini here to keep the “roasted” theme going. If tahini is easier to find, use it instead.  

Makes 1 1/2 cups


1 medium eggplant (about 1 lb)
olive oil, for rubbing, plus 1 1/2 tbsp
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tbsp sesame paste
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
sea salt
toasted flatbread pieces, such as naan or pita

Baba Ghanoush Ingredients
  1. Light a charcoal grill for direct, medium-high heat.
  2. When the coals are ready, rub the eggplant lightly with oil and place on the grill rack over the coals. Roast until blistered and softened, turning several times, 20-25 minutes.
  3. Remove the eggplant and let cool until easily handled.
Eggplant Beginning to Roast on the Grill 
Eggplant after Turning 
Grill-Roasted Eggplant
  1. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and hold over a bowl to let as much water as possible run out. Dab the inside with paper towels. Scoop the pulp into a food processor and add the garlic, sesame paste, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse until creamy smooth.
  2. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and gradually stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Roasted Eggplant Pulp 
Pureed Eggplant Mixture
Baba Ghanoush
To serve, place the bowl of baba ghanoush on a platter and scatter flatbread toasts around it.


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