Roasted Eggplant Dip (adapted from this recipe)
1 medium eggplant
4 large garlic cloves, quartered lengthwise
2 T olive oil
2 T tahini
the juice of 1/2 lemon plus a pinch of zest
1/3 cup of parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with foil. The fun part of this recipe is prepping the eggplant. After washing and drying it, I used the tip of a sharp knife to cut slits about 3/4 of an inch deep and one inch long. I rotated the knife back and forth to widen the slits- maybe I'm weird but this definitely made me think of a voodoo doll... Next, take the pieces of garlic and push them into the superficial holes.
|I guess I skipped the "drying" step...|
Place the eggplant on the baking sheet and lightly coat the sheet and the eggplant with cooking spray. I roasted mine for about 35 minutes, flipping the eggplant halfway through. It should be very soft with a somewhat wrinkly appearance when it is complete. The skin will char a bit, but this is difficult to visualize since it is already such a dark color.
While the eggplant bakes, I set up my food processor and collected the remaining ingredients. Obviously a bowl of dip isn't a meal, so I worked to chop and prep a number of "dippers"- carrots, cuke, celery, and pita wedges as well as some kalamata olives and marinated mushrooms.
|Dip related ingredients.|
Add in the remaining ingredients sans parsley and process another thirty seconds. The tahini really works some magic in making the dip look lighter in color and much smoother- it will start to resemble hummus.
I roughly chopped a good handful of flat parsley and pulsed that just a few times to mix it in. Obviously the parsley is entirely adjustable in terms of quantity and how fine you'd like it to be.
We both really enjoyed this- the simple combination of a little citrus, garlic, and parsley really brighten the eggplant without completely masking its subtle flavor. After the eggplant came out of the oven, I completed the process relatively quickly, so it was still warm at serving. It took the edge off of an otherwise cold meal, but a cooled version would be more suitable for the summer months. Another note- the quantity ended up being a little less than I had expected- eggplant has a high water content so it cooks down quite a bit. This would be a fun make-ahead dinner party appetizer, but be sure to use two or three eggplants if you're making it for a crowd!