Sam Mogannam's mother used to puree all of the eggplant for her baba ghanouj in a food processor until silky-smooth because she didn't think her kids would like the chunkier version she grew up eating. 'But after a trip to visit my grandmother in Bethlehem, she decided to make it this way, and all of us were like, "Mom, don't ever do it another way again!'" he says.
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4 pounds Japanese eggplants (14 medium)
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
How to Make It
Preheat the broiler. Set the eggplants on a large baking sheet and rub with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Broil 8 inches from the heat for about 15 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes, until charred all over and soft inside. Transfer the eggplants to a large bowl and let cool.
Discard the stems and peel the eggplants. Coarsely chop one-third of the eggplant. Put the remaining eggplant in a food processor. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt and puree until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and fold in the chopped eggplant. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve.
Baba ghanouj is best served when freshly made, but it can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Rounder varieties of eggplant can be used in place of the slender Japanese type called for here, but instead of broiling, they should be halved lengthwise, oiled and roasted, cut side down, in a 400° oven until the flesh is soft.
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