3 large eggplants pricked and oven-roasted, a bit charred on the outside, and collapsed
1/4 of a small red onion finely chopped or 3 minced shallots
1/2 -3/4 cup cherry tomatoes quartered or other tomatoes finely chopped and drained a bit of excess water
3/4 to 1 cup chopped parsley
1/2 red bell pepper finely chopped
5 cloves garlic either roasted or fresh and minced
1/3 cup tahini
Juice from 1 lemon and more if needed to desired taste
Olive oil from 3 tablespoons to 1/3cup for desired taste and texture. It is really important to use a very good quality olive here so as not to be bitter.
Salt and pepper to taste
There are two ways to make this. Either mashing the cooked eggplant by hand or using a food processor. For this recipe, we will use a food processor. If I were making a traditional Baba I would do it by hand.
- Take the roasted eggplant and scoop out the insides into the food processor. Add to it the garlic, tahini, juice of one lemon to start, and about 3 tablespoons olive oil to start up to a 1/3 cup of olive drizzled into the processor so as to emulsify with the tahini and eggplant. If you want a lot of olive oil, this is where it must be added in order for it to emulsify and integrate with the eggplant and tahini. The more oil, the fluffier and smoother the texture will be. For me 1/3 cup olive oil is too much, but this is truly a personal taste and health decision. If it’s purely about taste and texture and you want it like a more traditional Baba then you may want the 1/3 cup olive oil. This is where you decide what texture you would like.
- Pulse enough to get the olive oil and tahini blended into the eggplant and to get the eggplant broken down enough so as not to get big mouthfuls of chopped eggplant. It’s at this stage I decide how smooth I want the eggplant to be processed. I do like the eggplant to be a bit on the smoother side. The chunkiness will come from the other ingredients later.
- Once you have the desired smoothness you like, add 1/2 of the red onion, 1/2 of the parsley, 1/2 the red bell pepper, and lightly pulse a few more times to integrate these ingredients into the eggplant. But not to complete smoothness. Think of it as 3 levels of texture you are building. First, the eggplant with garlic and acid and oils, next is a touch of texture, added with the chopped veggies, and then the 3rd level where you get lots of chunkiness with the remaining veggies stirred in.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl. Add the tomatoes, the remaining parsley, onion or shallot, and red pepper. Mix into the eggplant so that now you have a nice mix of a smooth and chunky texture. Now start to balance the flavor by adding salt and pepper to taste, more lemon to the desired tartness, and more olive oil if desired. If you add more olive oil at this point it will be more like making a dressing as the oil will not have been emulsified and it will separate. I don’t mind this as it is sort of like having a little dressing added into this mixture. I simply don’t use tons of olive unless really necessary. If too tart, add a touch more oil and add a touch of date sugar to cut it, but not enough to add sweetness.
- At this point, it’s ready to chill and then serve. I like to garnish with chopped Kalamata olives snd some crumbled goat feta. Serve with toasted pita or toasted sourdough bread or crackers. Makes a wonderful open-faced sandwich spread as well.
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