We’ll take eggplant in any form—roasted, sautéed, fried, and stuffed—but we love it in baba ghanoush. The timeless Middle Eastern spread can enhance everything from crudité to Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches. Chef Nir Mesika, who helms the trendy East Village eatery Timna, makes a delicious version called Crazy Baba. “I wanted to do a version of baba ghanoush that’s more elegant and has more of a mousse-like texture,” he says. “My mom used to make eggplant salad with feta cheese and basil, so I thought to myself ‘Why not blend all those ingredients together into a smooth dip that you can eat with bread?’ After a few tries, the Crazy Baba was born. It’s really fun to make because you can prepare it for a dip to serve guests when they come to your house or use it as a sandwich spread.” Whip up the recipe below.
2 medium-sized eggplants
3 garlic cloves
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
3 ½ oz feta cheese
Juice from 2 lemons
3 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp canola oil
Fresh black pepper
Tabasco, to taste
1. Char the eggplants on the stovetop’s open flame for 10 minutes on each side or until the eggplant is soft on the inside and the skin is blackened.
2. After the eggplants are ready, set them aside for 10 minutes to cool and then peel the burnt skin off.
3. Place the eggplants in a blender. Then add the fresh basil leaves, garlic cloves, feta cheese, lemon juice and a few drops of Tabasco.
4. While you grind everything, slowly and simultaneously add the oil to get a smooth green spread.
5. After you get a smooth texture without any eggplant chunks, the spread is ready to be served.
6. Place if on a plate and drizzle a few drops of olive oil on top along with a bit of sumac to taste.