Moutabal, otherwise known as baba ghanouj, or France’s caviar d’aubergine (eggplant caviar), must definitely figure in the top 10 of the best foods in the world! A perfect balance of taste between nutty tahini, smoky eggplant, and a hint of lemon, moutabal is the “other” hummus . . . just like tabouleh and fattoush, there is hummus and moutabal! We always hesitate about which one to serve, but the solution is very simple—just choose all! Why wonder?
- 2 large eggplants (about 2 1/4 pounds, or 1 kg, each)
- 1/4 cup (60 g) tahini
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1 garlic clove
- Olive oil
- Kamal Mouzawak
Prick the eggplants with a fork on 2 sides. Put them on a medium gas fire (you can put the eggplants directly on a stovetop burner if you have a gas oven, or you can place the eggplants directly on top of a fire in an outdoor grill). The eggplants will blacken on the outside, and the insides will cook in their own moisture to become soft and smoky. Leave the eggplants on the fire until they char on one side (less than 10 minutes), then turn to the other side to char it. Prick the eggplants with a fork or a knife, to be sure they are soft.
Take the eggplants off the fire and let cool for a minute or two (not long, as the charred skin will tint the flesh dark), then peel off the skin, taking care not to leave small bits of black charred skin. Wash the eggplants well under running water, and let drain in a colander.
Squeeze the eggplants well to remove excess water and place in a bowl. Add the tahini and lemon juice, and mash all the ingredients together to obtain a purée. Crush the garlic and add to the mixture. Season to taste with salt, and store in the fridge for the dip to set. Serve with a generous drizzle of olive oil and the accompaniments of your choice.