Laziness and lack of planning. If anyone ever asks me the source of my “culinary creativity,” I will have to admit that I owe it all to the fact that I put off cooking until the last minute and then have to break cooking rules and take shortcuts in order to get dinner on the table before bedtime. I’ve had a few disasters, such as the time I skipped pre-cooking the 2 cups of onions in a crockpot recipe and wound up with soup that tasted like organic fertilizer, but often I learn that some rules deserve to be broken. Like this one: Baba Ganoush is served cold.
One of my “I don’t feel like cooking” meals is to make my quick blender hummus and a big salad and serve it with pita bread. On this particular night, I had an eggplant I needed to use, so before making the hummus, I put the eggplant in to bake for baba ganoush. Of course, the hummus was ready long before the eggplant finished baking, so there was no time to let it cool. I picked it up with a potholder to scrape the flesh from the skin directly into the blender. After a quick blending at medium speed, I opened the blender to a burst of steam, and my husband cautioned me not to get “all hot and baba-ed.” We laughed about hot baba ganoush, but with no time to let it cool, that’s how we ate it. And as you can guess, we loved it.
I refrigerated the leftover baba, and for lunch the next day I did the unthinkable and reheated it in the microwave. Instead of stuffing it in a pita, I spread it on top and sprinkled it with red onion, sweet red peppers, and kalamata olives. I baked it just long enough to heat things up and then sprinkled it with spinach just before devouring. It was a wonderfully warm way to eat a dish I previously thought of as a summer salad food.
My basic baba ganoush recipe has evolved slightly to be spicier and quicker since I first posted it, so here’s the latest version. If you’re not a spice lover or a fan of pita bread, be sure to check out the original: Baba Ganoush Vegetable Plate.
- 1 large eggplant, about 1 1/2 pounds
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
- 1 tablespoon tahini (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- ground cumin
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise (through the stem) and place it cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner. Cook for about 30 minutes, until the eggplant is soft and sunken in.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool just enough so that you can handle it. Holding the stem end, with a pot holder if necessary, scrape the flesh out of the skin into a blender or food processor. Add all remaining ingredients except cumin and process until it’s almost smooth. Scrape into a serving dish, sprinkle the top with cumin, and serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold.
Makes about 2 cups, depending on the exact size of the eggplant. Serves 4 as a main dish but more as an appetizer.