For as long as I can remember, I never liked eggplant. I had never tried it so there was never a real reason why. It just seemed like an intimidating vegetable. So sleek with its deep purple and smooth curves, I had no idea what to do with it. My how times have changed! Now I embrace the eggplant and try to find interesting ways to add it to whatever dish I’m creating.
This time around, it’s a delicious roasted eggplant dip. The aroma of eggplant roasting in the oven is so delightful and comforting (especially on the first cold and rainy day of the fall). The taste of roasted eggplant is even better. Combined with garlic, tahini, lemon juice, a hint of cumin and a kick of cayenne, it’s the perfect dip to have with a side of veggies or even as a spread to bring life to a sandwich.
Roasted Eggplant Dip
Makes 2 cups
2 medium eggplants
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp sea salt
6 tbsp tahini
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like things spicy)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped and divided
Toasted sesame seed for garnish
1. Using a fork, prick each eggplant a few times and place under the broiler and evenly char the skin. You can also roast these babies on the grill if you prefer. Once your eggplants are ready, remove from heat and let cool slightly.
2. Preheat the over to 375°. Brush 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on the inside of a baking sheet or glass roasting dish and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sea salt.
3. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, cut the stems off and cut each eggplant lengthwise. Place in the baking dish cut side down and pop in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Let cool.
4. Scrape the flesh from the eggplants and transfer to a food processor. Add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, cumin and 1 tablespoon of parsley, and give it a whirl until you reach the desired consistency (I like it to be a little chunky).
5. Scoop the mixture into a bowl and top with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of parsley and a pinch of sesame seeds. Serve with homemade grilled pita chips, crackers or celery and carrot sticks.
[All photos are my own and not to be used without permission]