Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Zucchini Baba Ganoush

Inspired by Hannah's recipe at Bittersweet, this version of baba ganoush uses summer squash instead of eggplant, and it's amazing how much like the original it tastes!  For me, it's the smoked flavor that really gives baba ganoush its character, but since the skin on squash is so different than on an eggplant, I wasn't sure you could set it on fire and then just peel the skin off.  Using 1/8 tsp of liquid smoke, however, worked perfectly (but use too much, and things just taste weird).  For ultimate smokiness, I also toasted the cumin I used whole before grinding it and adding it to the mix.  I also used more cumin and more lemon juice than Hannah--basically, I did whatever I'd do to make the eggplant version (and I've just realized that I have never actually posted a basic recipe with amounts on this blog; this one with mint leaves everything to taste).  Finally, I skipped the salt and pepper (besides a little salt in the roasting process), relying instead on harissa for all kinds of flavor (like in this hummus).

I also made a few little changes in method:  Instead of zucchini I used those cute little Mexican squashes, which are about half the price of zucchini in my neighborhood.  I peeled the garlic before roasting it, and have since realized that peeling the squash as well would have resulted in a more even and more eggplant-like appearance.  I didn't bother to line the pan with foil, and I had to turn on the broiler at the end to get the veggies that beautiful golden color.

In the end, this was a super-creamy, interesting, and delicious spread.  Since I have some reservations about eggplants--and since these little squashes are SO cheap right now--I'll definitely be making this again.

Zucchini Baba Ganoush
(adapted from bittersweet)
1 1/2 pounds zucchini or other summer squash (2 large, 3 medium, 4 small?), peeled if you want
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 TB olive oil
pinch salt
3 TB tahini
juice of 1 large lemon
1/4-1/2 tsp whole cumin, toasted and ground
1/8 tsp liquid smoke
large dollop harissa (or black pepper, or cayenne), to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400* and oil a large baking sheet.  Slice the zucchini into 1/4-in thick slices and toss them in oil with a pinch of salt.  Spread them out on the baking sheet, and place the whole cloves of garlic grouped in the center of the sheet so that they don’t burn. Roast for 30 minutes (flipping once), then broil a few minutes, until the zucchini are nicely browned. Let cool.
2. Once the vegetables have come to room temperature, puree the roasted zucchini and the garlic in a blender or food processor. Add in the tahini, lemon juice, cumin, and liquid smoke.  Adjust seasonings to taste, then serve, garnished with a big dollop of harissa.  It will be better if it sits in the fridge for at least a few hours first.


janet @ the taste space said...

I was hoping my zucchini plant would have been super prolific, but instead the shade means I have had zero zucchinis so far.

This looks great! I love how versatile (or sneaky!) zucchini can be.. must be becaue it is so bland, hehe. I have had this recipe on my to-do list when I finally get a bumper crop of zucchini: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/mighty-appetite/2006/07/zukeamole.html

Julia said...

Zucchini guacamole? That would be the ultimate feat of sneakiness! I'm going to have to try that, too.