We love dips. We have an abundance of fresh summer squash in our garden. So we made a dip out of summer squash. Inspired by the smoky mashed eggplant dish baba ghanouj, we roasted a combination of yellow summer squash and zucchini from our garden with smoked paprika and za'atar. Za'atar is a blend of dried Middle Eastern herbs and sesame seeds that lends an earthy, herbaceous aroma to the finished dip. We also added one green chile (Taiwan long hot pepper, because our garden offered us one when we knocked into the pepper plant) along with the squash to add a mild heat and chile flavor. The seasoned, roasted squash is then mashed with familiar ingredients to anyone who has ever made hummus. The only unusual ingredient is citric acid, a very tart powder also known as lemon salt that is available in spice markets or specialty stores. Honestly, we probably would have used lemon juice if we'd had a lemon, but this substitute worked beautifully. It imparts a powerful tartness without the lemon flavor or added liquid, and since squash is such a watery vegetable, no extra liquid was needed. Of course, lemon juice is a perfect substitute. Also, we like the rustic texture of this dip mashed with a fork, but it would also be delicious as a smooth dip pureed in a blender or food processor. The choice is yours. We learned today that baba means father and ghanouj means "soft or coquettish," so baba ghanouj refers to how spoiled someone will feel after eating this dish made from eggplant, the king vegetable of Middle Eastern cuisine. We guess. This is a soft and coquettish way to eat summer squash, so we stole the name.
The rest of our garden is maturing quickly, and we are now harvesting handfuls of heirloom tomatoes and greens. More recipes are to follow soon, my friends.
Summer Squash Ghanouj
About 30 minutes.
2 large summer squash, sliced
lengthwise about 1/2 inch thick
1 green chile (optional)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. za'atar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbs. tahini
1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. citric acid, or
the juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1) Oil a skillet or baking dish with olive oil. Lay the slices squash in a single layer with the whole green chile. Sprinkle with salt, za'atar and smoked paprika.
2) Roast about 20 minutes, until squash is lightly browned, but still soft.
3) Allow to cool until it can be handled easily, and transfer all squash and any pan juices into a bowl.
4) Add remaining ingredients and mash until it looks like dip. Garnish with a sprinkle of za'atar. Serve with your favorite bread or crudites, it's all good.