I’m always looking for some kind of healthy appetizer for when we have guests over. I’ve got plenty of appetizer recipes that are super yummy, and get devoured as soon as they get put out, but they aren’t exactly the healthiest dishes on the planet. Which is fine if you only eat them once in a while and they aren’t being used to absorb copious amounts of alcoholic drinks (which a lot of our get togethers involve).
And while I’m all for a nice veggie tray (I usually put that out with crackers and bread as a dipping alternative) and the occasional salad in your drink (that’s what Craig and I call the celery in a Bloody Mary or olives in a Martini – hey, they’re vegetables!) but let’s face it…a veggie tray with ranch dressing isn’t very appetizing after your first or second bite.
That’s one of the things I like about baba ganoush, or caviar d’aubergines (as the French like to call it…and if you’re having a fancy party you can call it that to really impress your guests). The whole thing is vegetables, herbs and citrus juice. Nothing needs to be cut up all fancy schmancy and you can change up the herbs to your own liking. You can also change the flavor by using grilled eggplant or roast it in the oven. Now you’ve got a healthy appetizer that your guests will devour, it goes with champagne as well as margaritas, no one will feel guilty as they reach for the 7th or 8th helping of it, and you won’t break a sweat making it. It’s a win-win situation.
Don’t set each other up in a no-win situation. Instead of trying to explain this, let me give you some examples:
Woman to Man: Do I look fat in these pants? Ladies…don’t do this to him, or yourself! If you have to ask him a question like that, you already know the answer. YES – you look fat in those pants! You know if he answers that question with a yes, you’re going to be in a pissy mood and will be mad at him for the rest of the night. If he answers NO, you’re going to be second guessing his answer all night.
Man to Woman: Did you come (sic)? Guys…really? Are you that stupid or are you just that self-absorbed? Don’t try to feign interest in our sexual finish. First of all, we don’t consider that sexy talk…so ewwww! We know you’re not interested in our finish to make sure that we’re happy, it’s more for your self aggrandization or to see if our requirement of you is done and you can roll over and start snoring. If we tell you no, then we have to follow that up with some kind of nicety (even if it’s true) like ‘but trust me I’m good’ and then you start in on the minutia of what happened, or didn’t, and by the time the discussion is over no one wants to continue…so we both lose. If we say yes, you roll over satisfied that an angel got it’s wings (because everyone knows that when a woman cums an angel gets it’s wings). If we lied, we are left taking things into our own hands to finish. If we were telling the truth you roll over satisfied and snoring, leaving us in the wet spot.
Makes approximately 2 cups
- 1 Large Eggplant
- 1/4 Cup Tahini (roasted sesame butter)
- 2 Large Garlic Cloves (roughly chopped)
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano (finely chopped)
- 1 Lemon (juiced)
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- Tomatoes (diced)*
Preheat grill to high heat. (If using the oven – preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.)
Slice eggplant in half lengthwise and coat both halves with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. (If using the oven, don’t split the eggplant. Pierce the skin several times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 – 30 minutes. Check for doneness by piercing eggplant with a paring knife. If done, you will get no resistance.)
Place eggplant halves on grill oiled side down. Don’t put them directly over the flames or they will burn. Leave on the grill until the skin is brown and the insides are soft. (You should be able to pierce the skin with a paring knife with no resistance.) This could take from 10-20 minutes. The time will depend on how hot your grill is and how close the eggplants are to the heat source. (If you got the egglpants too close to the flame and they’re all black on the bottoms, just peel off most of the blackened stuff. You should be left with plenty of unburned insides.)
Remove the eggplants from the grill and let cool until you can handle them.
Scrape the insides of the eggplant into a food processor. (If you used the oven method, cut eggplant in half and scrape the insides of the eggplant into a food processor and proceed as below.)
Add the tahini, garlic, oregano, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to food processor. Process until a smooth puree forms.
Taste and season with kosher salt and pepper.
*Optional: Serve with diced tomatoes rimmed around the edges of baba ganoush.
Variations: Add more garlic, leave out the oregano and add a dash of cumin, add cayenne pepper for a little kick (remember that a little cayenne goes a long way), add some smoked salt to get a smokier flavor, add more lemon juice or add a handful of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley.