Baba ghanouj Serves 6-8 2 large eggplants 2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped 2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice 1/3 cup tahini 2 tsp kosher salt 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves (about 35 leaves), roughly chopped 1/4 cup pistachios, broken into pieces Extra-virgin olive oil With a fork, poke holes all over the outside of the eggplants (this keeps them from bursting) and place over hot coals on the grill (or in an oven set to 375 degrees). Grill all sides of the eggplants until slightly charred, then move off direct heat of coals. Bake on the grill or in an oven until the eggplant is deflated-looking and soft (approximately 45 minutes). Let the eggplant cool to room temperature, then scrape the flesh out using a spoon or knife. Transfer eggplant, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt and pepper to a food processor and blend until it is a smooth puree. Add the chopped mint and pulse the mixture 15 times in short bursts (less than a second long) to mix and finish chopping the mint. Transfer the baba ghanouj to a serving bowl and mix in half of the pistachios. Smooth the top of the mixture out and make a swirly design with your finger or a spoon (the indentations help evenly distribute the olive oil as well as prettying up a bowl of pureed eggplant) and top with a few good glugs of the olive oil. Garnish with the rest of the pistachios and serve with pita, plain flatbreads or even tortilla chips.
Photo and styling by John Houser III, Special to The Baltimore Sun