There is something both scary and fun about cooking over an open flame. On one level, it feels like you could catch fire to your food at any moment, but on the other hand, there is something strangely satisfying about doing something that seems a bit dangerous.
The smoky flavor of this delicious dip comes entirely from how long you can brave the flames and believe that it is okay to keep cooking the eggplant until it is completely charred. Don’t worry; the insides are completely fine. In fact, if you don’t hold out against the instinct to say “it’s done,” your dip will retain a bit of the bitter raw eggplant taste.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Adapted from Small Bites by Jennifer Joyce
- 2 medium/large eggplants
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- half of a lemon
- 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt (whole milk if possible)
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (not powdered coriander)
- pimenton (smokey spanish red pepper powder)
- 1/2 red onion (optional, for garnish)
- 1/2 small cucumber (optional, for garnish)
NOTE: I often have guests who are very averse to raw onions, so this garnish is often skipped
- With a sharp knife, pierce both eggplants all over about ten times.
- Turn two gas burners on to medium high.
- With grilling tongs, place each eggplant directly over the flame. If your stove does not have metal racks over the burner to place pans on, put an old cooling rack over the burner so you can rest the eggplant on it.
- Once the lower side blackens, turn it so that each side of the eggplant becomes completely charred.
- Set up a colander over a large bowl.
- While the eggplants are cooking, finely chop the garlic and mint leaves, crush the coriander seeds, and place in a food processor.
- When the eggplants are finished cooking, place them in the colander to drain.
- Juice the lemon and add to the food processor with the olive oil, yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon each pepper and pimenton.
- Finely chop the red onion and cucumber if using.
- On a plate, cut the eggplants open, scoop out the flesh with a spoon, and add it to the food processor.
- Run the food processor until the dip is mostly smooth, but still a little bit chunky and pour into a serving bowl
- Garnish with cucumber and onion and serve with warm pita or lavash bread.
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