Slideluck Lunchshow: Baba Ghanoush

Words by Alison Sikowitz
Photos by Daeha Ko, Jen Plaskowitz, and Alison Sikowitz

Today was bittersweet – temperatures in the mid-seventies, a picturesque blue sky and cool breeze made this afternoon the archetype of lovely spring days, an endangered species in mid-June. In other words, it was the perfect opportunity for grilling.

With an unusually crowded office (eight hungry Slideluckers to feed!), we opted to make a relatively inexpensive and labor un-intensive dish: babaganoush!

Having never made this spread, I was skeptical as to the ease of the process. So I am not being blasé when I claim that lunch was no impressive feat. In fact, the greatest obstacle standing between me and the final product was figuring out how to work the grill… thankfully, Mike came to my rescue.

With the fire burning, the rest was smooth sailing. After charring and cooling some whole eggplants, we removed their burnt exteriors and tossed their fleshy interiors, seeds and all, into the blender. In went all the usual suspects: olive oil, lemon, parsley, salt, pepper, and tahini, a ground sesame paste. We had babaganoush with the push of a button.

To spice up our mediterranean-inspired meal, Suchan browned some Haloumi cheese (feta’s more mild but equally salty cousin) in the cast iron. The result added a whole new meaning to “grilled cheese.”

We charred some red peppers on the grill, plated some canned sardines, and dressed them both in olive oil and lemon juice. Add some toasted pita and a simple salad to the mix, and we were in business.

We enjoyed lunch on the porch, with biscotti and a pint of greenmarket strawberries to boot. Weather well spent.

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz’s Baba Ganoush Recipe

The spread:
2 large eggplants (about 3 pounds)
⅓ cup tahini, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
3 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
Half a bunch of parsley, plus a sprig for garnish
Enough olive oil to blend the mixture – a tablespoon or so
Salt and pepper to taste

On the side:
3 large red peppers
1 can of sardines in olive oil
1 package of Haloumi
8 pitas

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