For our wedding anniversary we went to Uchi, my favorite Austin restaurant. They serve sushi with the freshest fish and most creative flavor combinations I've ever had. As an anniversary gift, they served us an eggplant sushi that's really smooth, smoky and lemony; you almost can't tell it's eggplant. That inspired my version of baba ghannouj. You can serve it with pita triangles or cut up vegetables. I like to spread it on a wrap and fill it with lettuce or spinach for a simple lunch. —drbabs
about 2 cups
small eggplants (about 3/4-1 pound each)
olive oil (plus more for serving)
cloves garlic, minced
yogurt (optional; use soy yogurt to make it vegan)
toasted sesame seeds and Aleppo pepper or cayenne for serving
Brush your grill grates with oil and heat grill on high. (You can also roast or broil the eggplant, but place it on a foil lined baking sheet first so it doesn't mess up your oven.) Place the eggplants directly onto the grill grates. (If you're using a gas grill, turn off the center burner so you don't burn the eggplant before it has a chance to cook through.) Grill, turning as needed, until blackened all over and very soft, about 20-40 minutes, depending on the size. Let cool.
Heat olive oil over medium low heat and scrape in shallots and garlic. Let shallots and garlic simmer in oil while eggplant is being grilled or roasted. Let cool while eggplant is cooling.
Zest and juice the lemon. When the eggplants have cooled, peel them and discard the peel. If your eggplant has a lot of seeds, discard as many of them as you can, too. Let the flesh drain in a colander, pressing on it to remove the excess liquid. Place the flesh in a food processor or blender (You can also use a stick blender) and puree until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and zest, cumin, sumac, and salt. Drizzle in olive oil mixture and process till you have a smooth puree. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. To make it creamier, stir in a tablespoon or two of yogurt.
To serve, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and Aleppo or cayenne pepper.