Baba ganoush is a Middle Eastern dish of roasted eggplant, garlic, lemon and sesame tahini that has become popular all over the United States. Here, I’m riffing on the idea by using Southern seasonal ingredients. I embellish with sweet onion, fresh tomato and herb and use peanut or almond butter to replace the tahini. The result is a deeper, heartier flavor, with bright tones of acidity. This is great as a dip with cucumbers, crackers or fresh pita
Yield: 2 1⁄2 cups
2-3 medium eggplant
1 medium tomato
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
1 small Vidalia or sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1⁄2 cup Almond Butter
juice of 1 lemon
1 dried hot chili or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1/2 tablespoon each parsley & mint
Toasted almonds for garnish
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Over an open flame or on a hot grill, char the outside of the eggplant.
Place the charred eggplant on a roasting pan lined with parchment and roast in the oven until very tender (it will collapse), about 30-45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Peel the charred skin off the eggplant and discard. Save the eggplant flesh, including any liquid that may come off after cooking, and set aside. Take the tomato and cut to 1⁄4-inch dice.
Meanwhile, in a wide skillet, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic together with 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt. Add the chopped tomato and thyme leaves and sauté a few minutes more. Set aside.
In a food processor, combine the almond butter, eggplant, tomato-onion mixture, lemon juice and hot chili or pepper flakes. Blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Transfer to a wide serving bowl and drizzle with more olive oil. Garnish with fresh herbs and more toasted almonds(optional).