We’re all quarantined right now, and supposedly, we have all the time in the world whether we’re working from home or not, have to home school our kids or not, whether we think so or not. But I for one feel I have LESS time because I’ve realized how much I have going on: motherhood, blogging, a full time job, spring cleaning every room in the damn house, saving for a new house, redoing our front garden…there is a lot going on, and very little time.
Which is why my baking and cooking regimen has gone from slow bakes and casseroles, to stuff that is ready in minutes. Cue my 20 minute baba ghanoush! Having spent a good few years in the Middle East, I have an unwavering love for their cuisine, especially Egyptian dishes like kochari and my all time favourite dessert, Om Ali. Baba ghanoush, a dip or meze made with eggplant/aubergine, tahini, olive oil and various seasonings, is traditionally grilled over an open flame, which helps bring a deep, dark smokiness to the dish. But as I have neither the time nor the inclination to start a fire right now, I had to make use of my oven. Ready in no time, this is now a firm family favourite that brings back the happiest of memories from one of my happiest of childhood homes.
1 large eggplant/aubergine
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp of olive oil
Juice from one lemon
2 tbsp tahini paste
1/2 tsp ras el hanout (this is optional, but adds heat and depth to the dish)
Fresh parsley and more olive oil for garnish
Slice the eggplant/aubergine into 1/4 inch think slices and lay flat on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Sprinkle with half the salt and let stand for 5 minutes before patting down with a paper towel, and repeating on the other side, covering liberally with the 2 tbsp of olive oil.
Set your broil/top grill to a high heat and cook until the edges start to bubble and blister, turn once for an even cook.
In a food processor, pour in the eggplant/aubergine, the remaining olive oil, the tahini paste, the lemon juice and ras el hanout and blend together on high for 1 minute, adding more olive oil if necessary.
Scoop out in a bowl, add garnishes, and serve with warm pitta bread.