Several weeks ago, after planting our fall garlic beds, I ended up with a big bowl of leftover cloves on my kitchen counter. It hasn’t moved much since. We shuffle it around and I’ve whittled it down a bit but it’s still there; big, garlicky and always in the way. Not that it’s a huge problem. The garlic will last a year and sooner or latter I’ll muster the energy to walk it down to the root cellar. But until then, they’ll live on the counter. And while it’s occasionally irritating, having a big bowl of garlic underfoot, it’s also kind of nice. It gives me an excuse to use garlic in every dish. We’ve made garlic soup with poached eggs. We’ve done 40-clove chicken. We’ve roasted it. We’ve toasted it. We even whipped up a batch of garlic-scented gougeres. But recently my favorite garlic dishes have all been dips, spreads and purees.
Which brings us to baba ghanoush. Baba ghanoush is a great outlet for garlic. It’s strong, smokey, creamy and lucious; pure comfort food for more than a few people on this planet. It’s super easy to make, lasts for days and can be eaten with almost anything. In America we usually serve it as a appetizer dip with either pita triangles of raw, cut vegetables. In the Middle East it’s more often served as a side dish or as a salad. The best part about baba ghanoush is that it’s supposed to taste garlicky, Make that real, real garlicky. So I’m never shy. I push the garlic much farther than I do with other dishes. Baba is my number one answer to the big bowl on my counter.