Happy Friday! Who else is ready for the weekend?!? I love my weekend trips to the farmer’s market. It’s a little out of the way to make it there after work most of the time, but on weekends I always find time. Japanese eggplants are everywhere right now. They are a little more elongated and narrow than other eggplant varieties and are just beautiful. I purchased them awhile ago because I knew that I wanted to make something with them. They sat on my counter for several days as I made other things with no plan in mind. By the time I decided to use them, they were bad. For shame, for shame. But the eggplants didn’t go out of season and neither did my desire to make something delicious with them.
Then I found a recipe for this incredible smoky eggplant dip. If you haven’t learned of the genius of David Leibovitz you must get to know his name, his food. He’s incredible. We had an eggplant dip when we were out to eat in Melbourne and I knew I could get Matt to give it a try at home (even without tricking him as somehow he decided they were gross before). I have to admit, I was a little excited that I got to play with fire when I made these. Yes you get to play with real fire, open flames.
The key to the smoky flavor is burning the eggplants. A grill would work but I used the gas burners on my stovetop. I wake up earlier than Matt and did this one Sunday morning when he was sleeping. I’m pretty sure he would have decided I was going to burn the house down and tried to stop my pyrogenic activities. By the time I was finished, it was in fact quite smoky in my living room (I made a double batch) but the smoke was worth it for the flavor of this dip. I made some homemade pita to go with this dip and definitely recommend giving that a try. So much better than store bought. Perfect for dipping in this eggplant dip.
- 2 cups roasted eggplant pulp*****
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, or to taste
- 6 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste), well-stirred if a new container
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
- Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste, if desired
- Pinch of cayenne or aleppo pepper
- Pinch or two of ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons well-chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
- Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
- ***Japanese eggplants don’t have as much flesh so for me this was 5-6, generally speaking this would be 2-3 eggplants about 1 pound each.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush a baking sheet or roasting pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Prick eggplants several times with a fork for steam release.
- Over a gas flame, grill or under a broiler, evenly char the skin of your eggplants. For nice smoky eggplants, burn all of the purple. The eggplants will deflate when the steam releases.
- Transfer to a cutting board, and when cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise. Place cut side down on prepared baking sheet and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until very, very tender when pressed. Let cool to room temperature. Scrape eggplant flesh from skin and measure (a little more or less is ok).
- Combine eggplant, garlic, tahini, lemon, cayenne, cumin and 1 tablespoon parsley. Blend in short bursts (pulse) until combined, it is ok to leave some chunks if you like the texture. Taste and add more salt and lemon if needed.
- Garnish with more parsley, olive oil and sesame seeds.