Baba ganoush is an easy thing to make and quite wonderful to eat with its smoky accents. Black tahini and garnish of pine nuts and parsley gives this simple dip a dramatic makeover. The key is to heavily char the eggplants, and the best way is over a naked flame. Stove-top burners are ideal, but make sure your exhaust fan is working well, otherwise your smoke detector is likely to go off. You can use the barbecue, but you don't get the same result unless you're using coals.
80g thick natural yoghurt
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
80ml lemon juice
100ml extra virgin olive oil
black pepper, freshly ground
30g black tahini
50g toasted pine nuts
½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and shredded
1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional).
2. Char the eggplants all over by holding them, with tongs, directly over the naked flame of a stove-top gas burner and rotating them. It will take about 8 minutes for them to become uniformly blackened. You can do this on a barbecue or under a hot grill, but it'll take longer.
3. Once charred, place on a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes until very tender and collapsing. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
4. Cut the eggplants in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh, leaving the blackened shell behind. Leave the flesh to drain in a colander for 15 minutes, then chop evenly until you get a paste with a finely chunky texture.
5. Add the eggplant to a medium bowl with the yoghurt, regular tahini, garlic, lemon juice and half the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and combine until creamy. Set aside until ready to serve – it tastes best freshly made at room temperature.
6. When ready to serve, check the seasoning and transfer to a serving plate. Adjust with a little more lemon juice, if necessary.
7. Loosen the black tahini with 2 tablespoons of water, then drizzle it over the baba ganoush. Scatter over the toasted pine nuts and parsley and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Serve with warmed pita bread.