Sometimes when you are trying a new recipe, things don’t go right. I have less of a problem with this because I usually don’t follow recipes that closely as long as I know what should be the end result. Compared to my rather free wheeling approach, my wife tends to follow recipes more precisely (which anyone in their right mind should do). She read this rather healthy sounding recipe for baked eggplant, zucchini and tomato. It was a bit complicated. The eggplant, was not the Japanese variety and needed to be peeled, sliced, salted to remove the bitterness and prebaked with olive oil. Then, the eggplant slices, zucchini, and slices of tomatoes (she used canned whole plum tomatoes) were layered in a baking dish topped with seasoned bread crumbs (panko, thyme, oregano) and repeat the layers. We thought putting the bread crumbs in the middle of the layers did not make sense but that was what the recipe called for. The resulting dish was certainly edible (good flavor) but everything was mushy and the wet bread crumbs in the middle layer were not good. My wife was extremely disappointed and ready to throw it out. But, I said, “Wait, since everything is mushy why not mush it all up and make it into a dip like babaghanoush” which is supposed to be mushy. Only difference between this dish and “Baba Ghaoushu” are the zuchini, tomato and bread crumbs (come to think of it, that is quite a difference. The only common link is the eggplant).
But that did not deter me. I just put this mixture of the baked zucchini, eggplant, tomato, and bread crumbs in the mixing cup of an immersion blender, added some lemon juice, tahini (I used Japanese white sesame paste), crushed garlic and blended it. After tasting it, I added a small amount of good extra virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Finally I added finely chopped parsley for color and fresh taste. It turned out to be pretty good (and was great as a spread on sandwiches). It is sort of “Baba ghanoushu” but because of the tomato, olive oil, and bread which acted as thickener, it has the flavor profile of Gazpacho. It is a very wonderful new-age fusion dip which I henceforth named “Baba Gazpa-noushu”. I also made guacamole and hummus to complete a trio of ethnically confused dips.
Small flat bread, pita or pide, will be nice but we did not have one and it takes too long to make one. So I toasted small flour tortillas (from our freezer) in a toaster oven like toasting a slice of bread. The tortillas puffed up like pide. Although texture is quite different, it is perfect for dipping into these Mexican-Spanish-Middle eastern Meze starter.