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Baba Ganouj on Hot Embers (page 2 of 2)Home >> Recipes
Seasoning baba ganouj is different in every country and even in Lebanon, there is no two families doing it the same way. The usual ingredients are lemon, olive oil, tahini, yogurt, fresh mint, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander and ground almonds. You can use all of them, adding them gradually and tasting throughout the whole process. Or you can keep it simple and use only a handful to focus the dish on the eggplant pulp's wonderful smoky flavor.
II. The Toasted Lavash Bread and Its Topping
Remove the stems from a bunch of fresh thyme and finely snip the leaves.
In a large heavy-bottomed pan pour half a cup sesame seeds and bang the pan gently against the stove until they are spread in an even layer. Turn the heat on to medium-high and stay right next to the stove. As soon as you see the seeds heat up, start tossing them around constantly until they have turned pale brown. Remove them from the pan and into a plate to stop the roasting. This process turns the bland sesame seeds in a wonderfully tasty spice.
Combine the roasted sesame seeds, poppy seeds and thyme in a mortar. Add enough olive oil to obtain a thick paste. Reduce some of the seeds to a pulp using the pestle but leave the rest whole for texture.
Lavash bread can be found in most cities nowadays. We will split each bread lenghthwise, oil and roast it to obtain crispy crackers.
Using a knife to open the bread pockets, carefully separate the two discs with your hands. It is easy to do but make sure not to tear the very thin bread.
Heat up a grill or your oven. Brush each bread with a little oil and bake over high direct heat until brown and crispy. You can spread the toppings on top before or after the roasting.
Continue until all the bread discs have been baked. Spoon the remaining toppings on top.
Serve the baba ganouj with the crispy lavash bread as an appetizer. I recommend you prepare everything but the baked lavash in advance and bake them before your guests as soon as they get there. A very memorable and sophisticated dish!
I was inspired to cook directly over hot embers by The Magic of Fire by William Rubel, an amazing book about cooking on open fires. This is one of my 20 favorite cookbooks and I have several hundreds cookbooks in 6 languages. You need to get this book - the recipes are all traditional and yet immensely original. Mr Rubel (www.williamrubel.com) is a Californian home chef versed into literature and gastronomy. He cooked some of his dishes at Chez Panisse, one of America's top restaurants, and yet most recipes use only a handful of ingredients. A masterpiece. Warmly recommended!