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Here’s a tropical twist on a mediterranean classic: baba ghanoush, traditionally an eggplant puré,  with some ayote squash (a summer squash variety) added in for kicks. It’s generally served as a dip with toasted pita bread, but you can also enjoy it with carrot, celery or cucumber slices, or tortilla chips. As usual, this is a simple and satisfying recipe: no experience required. Preparation is about an hour, but most of that is baking time.

This dish is a joint invention between myself and an inspiring chef and good friend, Tommie Jackson-Smith. We had been hoping to prepare baba ghanoush for a friend’s birthday party, but soon realized that we didn’t have enough eggplant on hand for a party-sized serving. We did, however, find an ayote in the fridge, and decided to try combing the two. The result was absolutely delicious.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 eggplants
  • 1 ayote
  • 1/2 head of garlic
  • 1-2 limes *
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of tahini
  • a pinch of ground black pepper
  • a pinch of salt
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • a dash of cumin

*Depends how tart you like it-I always like a strong, sharp dose of lime

  1. Cut the ayote and eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Peel each clove of garlic.
  2. Distribute the garlic, ayote and eggplant on a baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake on high until the garlic and ayote is soft, nearly mushy, about 45 minutes.
  3. Remove the tray from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  4. Take your baked eggplant, ayote and garlic and place it in a blender or food processor. *Depending on the strength and quality of your blender (mine is quite poor), you may need to blend the ingredients in batches.* Add the tahini, squeeze in your limes, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Blend until the mixture is a smooth, creamy texture.
  5. Scoop the mixture from the blender and into a large bowl. Stir in the salt, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper and cumin.
  6. Transfer your fresh baba ghanoush into a serving bowl and bask in your friends’ admiration!

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