Smoky Roasted Eggplant Dip
Well, it’s September, and that means summer is drawing to a close. I do love this time of the year, because it’s a little cooler, but also because this is the best time of the year for fresh produce.
Not much makes me happier than going to my local farmer’s market and being inspired by what’s ripe and in season.
One of the great things about living in BC is the sheer amount of amazing fruits and veg that we grow here. I love to shop local, and we’re lucky to have such a broad range of locally-grown produce to choose from.
I recently got a huge delivery of locally, hothouse-grown tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and eggplants, and have been having loads of fun playing with different recipes. I’ll have a couple for you here in the next few weeks.
But let’s start with eggplant. A lot of people don’t like it; it’s slimy, it tastes bitter. But it’s all in how you treat it. Cooked correctly, eggplant is sweet and caramelized and meaty. Blend it up with some other ingredients, it makes for a creamy Roasted Eggplant Dip, which I doubt will be recognizable as that big purple vegetable to pretty much anyone.
The key to eggplant is high temperature. You want to cook it at 400 degrees or higher, which is why I did this one on the BBQ, but you could just as easily roast it in a hot oven.
And then I started adding other Mediterranean ingredients, like cumin and smoked paprika and harissa (which I am absolutely obsessed with). The smoke from the BBQ and the smokey elements you add like smoked paprika make this dip lovely, creamy and smoky.
Serve Smoky Roasted Eggplant Dip with bread or fresh vegetables for dipping, or load it up on top of toast or slather it into a wrap.
Smoky Roasted Eggplant Dip
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 med eggplants
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 head of garlic
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp harissa paste
- 2 tbsp tahini
- Heat your BBQ to 400 degrees. If you don't have a BBQ, just use your oven, and place your eggplants on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Cut the eggplant in half length-wise and rub all over with 1/2 to 1 tbsp olive oil. Brush the 1/2 lemon and the garlic bulb with a little olive oil as well.
- Roast the eggplant, lemon and garlic on your hot BBQ for about 15-20 minutes. Place the eggplant on the hottest part of the BBQ, but put the lemon and garlic up on the side where it's not quite as hot.
- Once the eggplant is roasted and soft, remove from the BBQ or oven and place in a zip-top bag for a few minutes to cool. This will help the skin to peel off easier.
- Once the eggplant is cool enough to handle, strip the inner flesh off of the skin.
- Place the eggplant flesh in the blender, then juice in the lemon. Pull 2-3 the roasted garlic cloves out of their paper husks and add as well.
- Add the salt, spices, and tahini.
- Blend, pulsing at first, to get everything mixed. Then, with the blender running, slowly add in the last 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Stop the blender and scrape down the sides. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Blend one more time.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs and za'atar. Serve with bread and raw vegetables to dip.