When I make Baba Ganoush (roasted aubergine dip), I always use the recipe from French chef Franck Dangereux – of The Foodbarn in Noordhoek, South-Africa – as a basis.
We visited South-Africa for the first time in 2013 and ended our holidays staying in Noordhoek, a coastal town about a 30 minutes drive south of Cape Town. On a small inlet from the Noordhoek Main Road, there was a modest commercial zone with some small shops as well as a couple of restaurants. Two of these are from Franck Dangereux: The Foodbarn Restaurant (for finer dining and cooking courses) and The Foodbarn Deli (for the more casual dining).
We had several brunches and one-time dinner in the Deli, which is an appealing combination of a French bakery, deli, bookstore, and an overall great restaurant. Proper breakfast/brunch/lunch fare, and in the evenings, the Deli is transformed to a Tapas restaurant with fabulous small dishes available from an array of world cuisines.
It was always buzzing with people coming there for breakfast, lunch, meeting other people, or just hanging out with a newspaper and grabbing a cup of coffee and a fresh croissant. No reservations are taken, so many times, you just had to wait in line to be seated. A great concept, with delicious food, drinks, and professional waiting staff able to cope with the incessant hustle and bustle. I wish we had something like that here in the Netherlands!
It was right around the time that Franck’s “Feast at Home” cookbook was published. A nod towards his “Feast” haute cuisine cookbook which was published in 2005 when he headed La Colombe (at the time Constantia Uitsig, we had a great dinner on its new location in Constantia Nek in 2016) which held the #28 spot in the World’s Top 50 Best Restaurants of the World at the time. After his departure from La Colombe, Dangereux really took a different route, making more straight forward and down to earth food, drawing more to his Mediterranean roots. This is clearly reflected in “Feast at Home”. I picked up a copy in the Deli, and it still is one of my favorite cookbooks.
When cooking for crowds, the versatility of this smokey and herby Baba Ganoush dip is unparalleled. Serve it with toasted pita bread, veggies batons, or as part of a mezze or even a cheese platter. I also highly recommend using it as a spread on roast beef, pastrami or roast chicken sandwiches!
As Franck Dangereux correctly stated it: “It’s delicious with just about anything.”
Recipe (for approx. 750ml / 3 cups)
Compared to the original recipe, I upped the garlic, tahini, coriander, and oregano and added a little kick by using a red chili pepper.
- 2 large aubergines or 3 small ones
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tbsp white tahini
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 red chili pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp goat’s milk butter (or regular if you can’t find it), melted
- 120ml / ½ cup of mayonnaise
- salt and pepper
- toasted black and white sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 390°F and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Oven-roast the whole aubergines for 60-75 minutes until they are very tender, and the skin is starting to blister. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Halve the aubergines lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the skin. Keep 1 of the aubergine skins apart and cut it up roughly.
- Add the aubergine flesh together with the skin to a food processor and add all other ingredients except the mayo and seasoning (i.e., the olive oil, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, fresh herbs, butter, and chili pepper) and blitz for about 10 seconds until roughly combined.
- Add the mayo, blitz for another 10 seconds, season to taste, and gently pulse until incorporated and creamy.
- Allow the baba ganoush to cool to room temperature, then season to taste with additional lemon juice, salt, and pepper and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.