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
- Cut the ayote and eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Peel each clove of garlic.
- 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.
- Remove the tray from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.
- 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.
- Scoop the mixture from the blender and into a large bowl. Stir in the salt, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper and cumin.
- Transfer your fresh baba ghanoush into a serving bowl and bask in your friends’ admiration!