Two ways. One Romanian, one Levantine. Only that we Romanians don’t call it baba ganoush but eggplant salad, Salată de vinete.
Traditionally, baba ganoush is made with olive oil, tahini and spices while the Romanian version is simpler, requiring just chopped onion and oil. Either way, it is the same technique and with no further due, you’ll need:
- 2 eggplants
- half an onion per eggplant, finely chopped, massaged with some lemon juice and salt
- lemon juice
- 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp tahini sauce
- 1 clove of garlic, smashed
- pinch of cumin
- roast your eggplants over an open flame until the skin is burnt and the flesh is soft and cooked – if you don’t have access to an open flame, cook them on a cast iron skillet on medium high; don’t roast it in the oven unless you really have no choice. The key point here and also the significant taste of it is the smokiness, achieved only by using the first two methods; or over a grill.
- prepare next to you a pot with a lid; once the eggplants are done transfer them immediately to the pot with with the lid on and allow it to steam for 15 minutes;
- fill in a bowl with cold water and have it next to you; peel the skin of the eggplant and gently wash any stubborn small pieces of skin left by wiping it with your clean, cold hand;
- transfer the peeled eggplants on a wooden cutting board, remove the stem and mince it with a wooden spatula;
- once you’re done chopping add it to a clean (non metallic) bowl and according to your moods add:
for Salată de vinete,
- the finely chopped onion massaged with salt and lemon to cut off the strong taste of onions;
- the vegetable oil and the lemon juice, little by little and alternating while adding it – use a wooden spatula to mix;
- salt and pepper to taste
for the original recipe,
- the tahini, cumin and crushed garlic clove;
- the olive oil, added again little by little so you make sure it won’t split;
- salt and pepper to taste.
And that’s it! It’s a simple recipe but definitely a summer staple and a delicious vegan spread.
Best served with soft bread and some fresh tomatoes on the side. Or some potatoes wedges!