When it comes to eggplant, my tastes are fairly simple. I like it salted, brushed with olive oil and grilled, or cut into rounds and broiled. However, once in a while, I want something a bit more sophisticated and showy from my eggplant. Over the weekend, I found myself confronted with two firm, fresh eggplants and so decided to make a dip. I split the eggplants in half, rubbed them with olive oil and roasted them on a parchment lined baking sheet (I also threw a foil-wrapped head of garlic in with them as well).
After half an hour, when the flesh put up no resistance to the tines of a fork, they were done. I let them sit until they were cool enough to handle and then I peeled them into the bowl of a food processor. The roasted garlic went in, along with salt, pepper and some lemon juice. I drizzled in some olive oil while the motor ran. After a minute it was done. It was wonderful just then, still warm and creamy. It's also delicious cold, straight out of the fridge with a tortilla chip. Because the garlic is roasted, the flavor is fairly mild, so it could even be something your kids might dig on. It would also make a good potluck contribution (with a bowl of cut up veggies or crackers) A more organized recipe is after the jump.
I realize that a whole host of cultures have been a wide variety of eggplant dip and spreads for many generations. This is just my easy take on it. Feel free to adopt the method and make it yours!
Roasted Eggplant Dip
2 medium sized eggplants
1 head garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
Cut the eggplants in half and liberally oil each piece. Lay them out, cut side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet (the parchment is optional, but they do occasionally stick and so it makes clean-up far easier). Roast for half an hour (or until the flesh is tender and puts up no resistance to the tines of a fork or the tip of a knife) in a 375 degree oven, turning them over half way through the baking time.
Slice the top off the head of garlic (the part that comes to a papery tip). You want to just barely expose the tops of the majority of the cloves, so that the roasted cloves will squeeze right out when it comes time to add them to the eggplant. When the eggplant it done, the garlic should be ready as well.
When the eggplant is soft, remove it from the oven and let it sit until it is cool enough to handle. When you can work it with, peel the skin away from the flesh and place the eggplant flesh into the bowl of a food processor. Squeeze in the roasted garlic (taking care to keep all the skin out of the mix). Add the juice of one lemon, a good pinch of salt and five or six turns of a pepper mill. Plus the processor a couple of times to get things moving and then set it to run. Drizzle in the remaining olive oil and when it's incorporated and the dip is creamy, you're done. This could also be done in a blender or with an immersion blender, although it probably won't get as smooth (and if you like chunky textures, that could be a good way to go for you).
Serve warm or cold, with chips, bread, cut veggies or as a side dish (just call it eggplant puree).
Filed Under: Ingredients
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