Earthy Delights Recipe

Truffled Baba Ghanouj

Truffled Baba Ghanouj
This flavor-rich eggplant puree is perfect for plunging pita chips or crudités (that’s French for raw vegetables), but that’s not all. Spread on sandwiches, it makes a quick & easy snack or toss with cooked rigatoni or penne pasta for a light lunch or dinner in under 30 minutes.

1 large (1 1/2 lb) eggplant
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or put through a garlic press
4 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste), or more to taste
Juice of 1-2 Meyer lemons
1/2 teaspoon toasted ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Black truffle oil, to taste
Paprika or cayenne pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley – or both



Pierce the skin of the eggplant in several places with a sharp fork or the tip of a knife.


Option 1: Cooking over an open flame

Place the whole eggplant over an open fire, either on a pre-heated barbecue or over a gas burner. Cook slowly until the skin is charred, turning frequently, until the eggplant is soft and deflated, and the outside is evenly blackened. The time will vary according to your heat source, but 35 – 45 minutes is typical.

Option 2: Cooking under an oven broiler

If an open flame is not available, you can cook the eggplant under a pre-heated broiler. Place the pierced eggplant on a foil-lined broiler pan and set it so the top of the eggplant is about 4 – 5 inches from the heat source. Broil, turning occasionally, until the skin is charred and the eggplant is very tender, about 30 – 40 minutes.


Whichever cooking method you use, once the eggplant it cooked, place it in a pan or ceramic dish and cover with plastic wrap and let cool.


Toast the cumin seeds by heating them in a heavy pan over moderate heat until they become pleasantly aromatic. Do not allow to brown. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Place the toasted cumin seeds in a coffee or spice grinder and grind into a fine powder.


When the eggplant has cooled enough to handle, peel away the charred skin, but don’t worry about getting every little bit – they’ll add to the final flavor.


Remove and discard the seeds. Reserve the smoky juices that accumulate. Chop the flesh of the eggplant thoroughly, but not too finely – a slightly chunky texture is highly desirable. Stir in the garlic, tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, reserved eggplant juice, cayenne or paprika and toasted cumin, adding salt & pepper to taste. Adjust the seasonings, if necessary, then cover and chill until ready to serve. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving and spoon into a shallow bowl. Lightly swirl the surface with the back of a large spoon and pour the olive oil over the top. Garnish with drizzles of black truffle oil, a few dashes of paprika or cayenne pepper and a generous sprinkling of cilantro and/or parsley.


Serve with plenty of crisp toasted pita chips