Baba GanoushCharlie Carrington
- 2 large eggplants (aubergines)
- 20ml (¾ fl oz) grape seed oil
- Juice of 2 lemons
- ½ large garlic bulb, broken into cloves and peeled
- 150g tahini
- 50ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- Mint olive oil
- 1 bunch mint, leaves picked
- 100ml olive oil
- Savoury halva
- 100g (⅔ cup) sesame seeds
- 50g (⅓ cup) almonds
- 60g pitted dates, finely sliced
- 110g tahini
- First make the baba ghanoush. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Put the eggplants on a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and raise the temperature to 230°C (445°F), then split the eggplants in half and place them back on the tray skin side down. Brush them with a touch of grape seed oil and place back into the oven for another 20 minutes.
- To make the savoury halva, toast the sesame and the almonds separately in an oven with dry heat at 180°C (350°F) – watch the sesame, as it burns quickly. You are just looking to bring a bit of life to the sesame and almonds. Next, in a blender coarsely blitz the almonds and sesame. Add in the dates and tahini and bring together on a low speed, but don’t overwork it. It should be moist but crumbly, and if you press it between your hands it should stick to itself.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the mint into the thinnest, most hair-like strands possible and then marinate in the olive oil for at least 10 minutes.
- When the eggplant has roasted, scoop the flesh out into a blender and blend with the remaining ingredients except the paprika until smooth.
- To plate, spoon a very generous portion of the baba ghanoush onto a plate and create a well in it. Drizzle the mint oil around the well and place the savoury halva inside. Dust with the paprika.
A sweet Iraqi treat, halva is usually made from tahini and hot sugar syrup and cuts like a crumbly cake. With this recipe, I’ve used traditional sweet halva as a savoury ingredient, counteracting the slight bitterness of the tahini with dates. You can buy halva at Middle Eastern grocers.
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