Eggplant with Sesame Oil Sauce


        3 large eggplants
        1 cup taheeni
        1 1/4 CUp lemon juice
        4 cloves of garlic
        2 tsp. salt
        Pomegranate seeds
        Olive oil
This spread pleases the palates of East and West alike with its slightly smokey taste and rich creamy texture. It is considered best when heavily laden with the freshest garlic, and is excellent as a meza or cocktail dip with potato chips, toast rounds, or Arabic bread.

Cut stem and green hull from top of eggplant. Bake it whole or broil over an open flame until the flesh is soft and the skin becomes crisp and starts to crack open. Scoop pulp out of the skin. Mash thoroughly or pass through a food mill. Slowly beat in lemon juice alternately with taheeni. Crush garlic with salt and mix to a paste with a little lemon juice. Blend this into the eggplant mixture. Adjust seasoning to taste adding more salt or lemon juice. Pour onto shallow serving dishes or platters. Garnish with chopped parsley or leaves. Arrange pomegranate seeds in rows across top. Serve cold with olive oil, radishes and green onions.

Baba ghannouj can be prepared in small quantities in the electric blender. Beat the grilled pulp first, then alternately add taheeni and lemon juice, and garlic crushed with salt. Prepare a third of the quantity given above so as not to overfill the blender.

(From Food from the Arab World Marie Karam Khayat and Margaret Clark Keatinge, Khayat's, Beirut 1959)