By Robyn Kalajian
Florida Armenians Cuisine Contributor
Back in December we were pleased to see a recipe for ‘Armenian Blistered Eggplant Dip’ by Dayana Sarkisova in the Washington Post. Why did this make us happy? Because the recipe, also known as ‘Baba Ghanoush’ or ‘Moutabal’, is one that we love. We also enjoy the grilled zucchini version of this, Mama Ghanoush.
By the way, this is perfect for Lent, which begins on Monday, February 24th this year.
Here’s my version of ‘Armenian Blistered Eggplant Dip’ –
‘Baba Ghanoush’, or, ‘Moutabal’:
(Making this recipe a day in advance will allow the flavors to develop.)
Yield: about 1 ½ to 2 cups
- 2 large purple eggplants
- 2 large cloves garlic, roasted and mashed
- ¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. Aleppo pepper (freshly ground black pepper may be substituted)
- 1 tsp. ground sumac (sold in Middle Eastern stores)
- 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Rinse eggplant; pat dry. Using a paring knife or fork, pierce the eggplant all around.
Wrap 2 large, unpeeled garlic cloves in foil. Place pierced eggplant and wrapped garlic on prepared baking sheet. Roast for about 30-35 minutes or until eggplant and garlic are soft. To test for softness, insert the fork or paring knife into the eggplant. It should slide in without any resistance.
Using tongs, place eggplant on a wire rack to cool. Remove garlic from foil; gently squeeze softened garlic into a bowl and mash with a fork. Set garlic aside until ready to add.
Once eggplant is cool enough to handle, put it on a cutting board, pull away the skin and discard. Roughly chop the eggplant, then place it in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients mixing to combine.
To make a semi-smooth mixture, puree it in a food processor for a few seconds, but don’t over-do it.
Return mixture to the mixing bowl to adjust seasonings, if necessary.
To Serve: Place eggplant dip into a serving bowl. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro. Add a sprinkling of sumac and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
It’s best served at room temperature with chips, crackers, vegetable sticks, pita bread triangles, or lavash.
By Robyn & Doug Kalajian
FLArmenians Cuisine Contributors
The Women’s Guild of St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, FL has a special way of observing michink, or mid-lent – with a potluck dinner. This year our dinner will be held on Wednesday, March 13th in Mardigian Fellowship Hall. Each guild member is asked to bring a Lenten recipe large enough to serve 6 people. Attendees eagerly sample a wide variety of tasty, healthy Lenten recipes, while enjoying the camaraderie of everyone present.
Upon the conclusion of the meal, a brief service is conducted by the Very Rev. Father Nareg Berberian.
I don’t know what the other members will be bringing, but I’m planning to contribute one of the following green bean recipes; I haven’t decided which yet.
Option #1: A fresh and delicious way to prepare green beans.
Green Beans with Orange Dressing
- 1 1/2 pound green beans, stems trimmed and cut in half
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup toasted unsalted pistachios, chopped
- 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves (or 1 tsp. dried mint, crushed)
- Steam beans until tender (they should still be bright green), about 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together orange zest, juice, salt and pepper.
- Place green beans in a serving bowl; toss with orange dressing.
- Garnish with a sprinkling of pistachios and mint. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Option #2: A reliable stand-by recipe.
Lenten-Style Green Beans
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 ½ lbs. Italian pole beans or string beans, fresh or frozen (defrosted)
- 1 cup tomato Sauce
- 1- 15 oz. can diced canned tomato with its liquid
- 1 cup water (more if needed)
- salt, black pepper, allspice to taste
- ¼ Tbsp. cayenne pepper, optional
- In a medium sized pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sautė onions and garlic until the onions become translucent. Reduce heat to low. Add the beans, cover, and cook for about 15 – 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning. (At this point no liquid has been added.)
- Add the sauce, diced tomatoes, water and seasonings. Mix well; cover and cook on low for 30 minutes till the green beans are tender.
- Add additional water, and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
Can be served hot or at room temperature.