Baba ghanoush-Abagannuc; burnt eggplant salad with garlic, olive oil

Abagannuc or baba ghanoush is a popular mezze or salad in southern Turkish cuisine, where eggplants are char grilled to get a delicious, smoky flavor. It has different versions throughout the Middle East. We'd like to add a little pomegranate molasses in our version for a tangy, sweet flavor. This salad / dip goes very well as part of a mezze spread or with any grills. I also love this dip on crackers or toasted bread with a nice sharp cheese or feta cheese aside.

Recipe type: Turkish Mezzes, Salads

Cuisine: Regional Turkish Cuisine

Serves: 4

Ingredients

2 medium aubergines / eggplants
1 pointy red pepper or bell pepper
3 small, ripe tomatoes
1 clove of garlic, crushed with salt and finely chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
30ml/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
A drizzle (about 10ml/2 tsp) pomegranate molasses to decorate (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to serve

Instructions

Line the base of your burners with a foil to protect, keeping only the burners exposed.

Place the eggplants or aubergines and pepper directly over the burner on medium heat and roast for about 15 - 20 minutes, turning occasionally. (You can roast the tomatoes on a barbeque or on the oven at 200 C for about 20-25 minutes, as it can get quite messy over the burner.)

If you prefer not to have the smoky flavor, you can also score the aubergines with a knife in few places and bake on a baking tray for 50 – 60 minutes. In this case, turn them around every 20 minutes or so that they would cook evenly. Pepper would need about 35-40 minutes to cook in the oven and chargrill.

If you are cooking over the burner, use metal tongs to turn the aubergines and pepper around so that all sides would cook evenly and the skin is nicely chargrilled. Cook until the skin is burnt and the flesh is soft.

Remove the cooked aubergines, tomatoes and the pepper to a colander to allow them to cool. Once cool, peel and discard their burnt skin and leave them in the colander to drain aubergine’s bitter juices. I like to gently squeeze the aubergine flesh to drain as much water as possible.

Chop the flesh of the aubergine, pepper and tomatoes coarsely and mash them with a fork.

Place the flesh in a bowl and stir in the chopped garlic, lemon juice and the extra virgin olive oil, combine well. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
When serving, drizzle with pomegranate molasses over (if you prefer to) and give a gentle mix; its tangy flavor works really well with the smoked aubergine and peppers.


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