From what I can tell, communities surrounding the Mediterranean each have their own variation on an eggplant dip. I have yet to meet one I didn’t like. This version is seasoned in a Moroccan style and pairs quite nicely with my date and lamb kaftah, but you could easily use the same technique to very different effect by altering the spices.
Roasted Eggplant Dip
- 3 large eggplant
- 1 large red onion
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon harissa (sriracha or other chile paste would do in a pinch)
- 1/2 tablespoon toasted cumin seeds, ground
- 1/2 tablespoon dried sumac (or some lemon zest)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prick eggplant all over with a fork and place in jelly rolls pans or roasting pans in oven. Roast until the eggplant start to collapse (approximately 45 minutes to one hour), flipping occasionally. When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out and set in a fine mesh strainer for at least one hour.
- In a small baking dish, combine sliced onion and tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast in oven, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft with crispy edges. Chop this mixture so that it is almost a paste.
- Add the drained eggplant, onion and tomato mixture, olive oil and spices to a bowl and mash well with a potato masher. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar to taste.
The kaftah and eggplant were both unctuous and a little spicy, so I decided to make a quick yogurt dip to balance out the flavors. I combined a cup of labaneh (full-fat strained Greek yogurt would work) with the zest of two lemons and the juice of one. It worked like a charm.
Sadly, I failed to take a proper photo of either of these dishes, but that’s them, along with the kaftah, in the upper right quadrant of my refrigerator.