Scorch it! Smoky Baba Ganoush Eggplant Spread
Baba Ganoush, Baba Ghannouj or Baba Ghannoug is an Arab dish traditionally made with eggplant that has been charred on an open fire, charcoal or the stove top flame. You cannot make a decent Baba Ganoush without these smoky and charred flavor notes. Using the “scorch method”, purposely or unavoidably burning something in the pressure cooker to add flavor, you can do this in your pressure cooker!
This method is not recommended for use in electric pressure cookers with non-stick inserts as the scorching could damage the coating – try my Spicy Eggplant recipe, instead.
I have only tested this recipe with a spring-valve, non-venting, pressure cooker. If you cook this in your jiggly or weight-modified pressure cooker they may not reach pressure since they require more liquid to reach pressure.
To clean a scorched pressure cooker, remove as much as the scorch as possible (or follow recipe instructions to incorporate in the sauce). Fill to cover the scorch with 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water solution and bring the contents to a boil. Turn off the heat, put on a top and leave to soak overnight.
Pressure Cooker Recipe: Smoky Baba Ganoush Eggplant Spread
Since this technique relies on specific quantities of eggplant to generate enough liquid to reach pressure, this recipe cannot be halved or be made in a pressure cooker larger than 6L without increasing the proportions.
2 lbs, or 1k Eggplant, see instructions for preparation
Peel the eggplant in alternating stripes of skin and no skin (to keep some of the flavor and color of the skin, but not too much!!) Slice the biggest chunks possible to cover the bottom of your pressure cooker. The rest can be roughly chopped.
In the pre-heated pressure cooker, on medium heat without the lid, add the 1/4 cup of olive oil. When the oil has heated, carefully place the large chunks of eggplant “face down” to fry and caramelize on one side – throw in the garlic cloves with the skin on. Then, quickly flip over the eggplant (most of the oil should be absorbed by the eggplant at this point, if not, pour out any excess oil from the pan). Add the remaining uncooked eggplant on top and the salt.
Quickly close and lock the lid and pressure cook for 3 minutes at high pressure – do not be alarmed if you smell something burning when the pressure cooker is reaching pressure and expelling vapor. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the natural release method – move the pressure cooker to a cool burner and wait for the pressure to come down on it’s own for about 5 minutes, and then finish opening it with the Normal vapor release.
If you like the flavor to be very smoky (I do), scrape the black bits stuck to the bottom of the pan and incorporate it into the cooked eggplant. If you are not sure how much you like, move the eggplant and the resulting amber liquid to a mixing bowl and proceed with the next steps (you can always add more smoked bits later).
Fish out the garlic cloves and remove their skin. Add the Tahini and lemon juice and either mash everything with a fork, or blend tilting the pan and using a stick blender.
Pour out to serving dish and sprinkle with fresh Thyme, black olives and a dash of fresh olive oil before serving.