Baba Ghanouj

Ingredients

1 large (1-pound) (450-g) eggplant
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons roasted tahini (sesame seed paste)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 recipe Pita Bread cut into wedges

Directions

Serves 4 to 6

Preheat the broiler and set the oven rack 4-6 inches (10-15cm) from the heat source.

Wash the eggplant and prick the surface all over about 12 times with a fork. Brush with the olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Broil the eggplant, turning it approximately every 10 minutes, until the skin is charred all over and the pulp is very soft, about 30-45 minutes. As the eggplant begins to soften it will become tricky to turn. I find that holding the stem end with tongs provides me with better grip. Remove the eggplant from the oven and cool for at least 15 minutes.

While the eggplant is cooling, place the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt into the bowl of a food processor or blender and process until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

When the eggplant has cooled, cut it open with a small knife and scoop out the pulp, discarding the skin. Add the eggplant to the tahini mixture in the food processor or blender and process for 15 seconds, until smooth. (It is important to have the tahini and lemon juice mixture prepared ahead of time. Once the eggplant flesh is exposed to the air it will start to turn dark if not mixed immediately with the lemon juice.)

Spoon the Baba Ghanouj into a bowl, drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve with the wedges of Pita Bread.

Wine Suggestion: Merlot