Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Baba Ghanoush with Peanut Butter

Baba Ghanoush with Peanut Butter

Even nonfans of eggplant love baba ghanoush, the silky, smoky Mediterranean spread that works great with just about anything that hummus is good for too. They are pretty similar: instead of chickpeas, baba ghanoush is made with grilled or roasted eggplant. But otherwise the ingredients are about the same: olive oil, garlic, salt, maybe an herb or some spice and tahini.

What is tahini? It's a paste made up of ground up sesame seeds. It reminds me an awful lot of peanut butter, so, when recently I went to make baba ghanoush and realized I'd forgotten to get tahini, I tried substituting peanut butter. The resulting spread tasted great, like a marriage between the usual baba ghanoush and peanut sauce.

Baby Ghanoush with Peanut Butter

1 lb. eggplant (generally two medium-size)
1/3 cup peanut butter (in place of tahini)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Olives and chopped herbs (optional garnishes)

1. Preheat oven to 500 F. Place the eggplant on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until the skin is dark and sunken looking, about 25-35 minutes. Allow the eggplant to cool, then slice in half. Scoop out the flesh and discard the skins (alternatively, roast the eggplant on a hot barbecue to give it a smoky taste; I'd have done this but unfortunately it was raining the day I made this).

2. In a blender, combine the roasted eggplant, peanut butter, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and, if desired, garnish with olives and fresh herbs.

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